Honeymoon Day 8 – Should have been The Bahamas…

We had been keeping track of hurricane Matthew while we were in Orlando. It was hard not to, everyone was talking about it or weather warnings were always being shown on TV. Of course we were concerned but we just wanted to enjoy our week and not talk too much about it all.

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We got home from The Magic Kingdom gone midnight and feeling exhausted from the long, busy day, we fell asleep still thinking we would be flying to the Bahamas the next day for the second part of our honeymoon…

We were woken by the room phone ringing at 7am. It was Virgin Holidays in the UK saying that we wouldn’t be flying to The Bahamas, due to Hurricane Matthew. We were gutted, but of course we just wanted to stay safe, especially after then seeing the devastation in Haiti which was just awful and so sad.

So Virgin gave us 3 options; fly home, stay in Orlando for another week or they could try and find us somewhere else to fly to for our second week.

Well we definitely didn’t want to go home. We were unsure on staying in Orlando for another week seeing as the weather was only getting worse. So we asked Virgin to try and find us somewhere else to fly to. Our only requirement being sunshine and if possible a beach. As much as we had enjoyed our week in Orlando and all the theme parks, we were so ready for a romantic week, relaxing!

As we were now wide awake and in limbo, waiting for Virgin to phone us back, we decided to shower, pack and then head to breakfast inside the hotel, just in case we had to leave at a moments notice, we wanted to be ready.

Unfortunately though that wasn’t the case. We appreciated that they must have had a lot of customers in the same position as us, so must have taken a lot of time to contact everyone and deal with everyone’s requests. But as we hadn’t heard back from Virgin for a few hours (when they said they would phone us back within the hour) Matt phoned them just to see what the situation was, as we didn’t want to waste the day sitting around the hotel waiting for a call.

This time we were put through to Virgin America, who said they were working on our request and that we should just go out and enjoy our day, as they didn’t know how long they would take or what our final option would be. As if they couldn’t find somewhere new for us to fly to, we would just stay in Orlando for the second week.

We had pretty much crammed in everything that we had wanted to do in Orlando into our first week. The only thing we missed out on were the Water Parks, but the weather had been quite hit and miss and we hadn’t had the time to fit them in. So we were a bit unsure with what to do for the remainder of the day and unfortunately our Disney and Universal Tickets had expired so we couldn’t go back to the parks, unless we wanted to pay quite a lot just for a day pass. So we decided to jump in the car and see where the day/roads took us.

Weirdly the weather was lovely and sunny (no signs of a hurricane just yet) so with the roof down, we drove along International Drive and ended up in Hooters for lunch. I really love Hooters and wish they would open more in the UK! We decided to share a mixture of foods including buffalo chicken wings (of course!), sliders, mozzarella sticks and curly fries. I was also happy as it was the first place we had found which served Mountain Dew which is my favourite soft drink!

 

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Buffalo Chicken Wings my favourite!

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A mixture of beef and chicken sliders with curly fries

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Mozzarella Sticks

 

During lunch we used the free Wi-Fi (thanks Hooters!) to have a look into things we could do for the rest of the afternoon. We debated heading back to Universal’s CityWalk, looked at a few crazy golf options, I also saw that they had the Orlando Eye (like the London Eye) and also a Madame Tussauds, but knew that Matt wouldn’t want to go there. But then we noticed that it had started chucking it down with rain, now it really did feel like the storm was coming!

We kept looking up ideas for indoor attractions and then Matt mentioned Kennedy Space Centre. It was around an hours drive from Orlando, on the coast and I was a bit concerned about the weather, but as we hadn’t found anything else we were interested in doing and the actual bad storms weren’t meant to hit for another couple of days we thought why not, let’s just drive and see what happens.

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Luckily the rain eased and the sun started to appear again the closer we got to Cape Canaveral (Orlando weather is very odd!) The drive was pretty easy as it’s mostly just one long straight road and at times we were the only car on the road. However by the time we had made it to the Space Centre it was around 3pm and when we checked out the prices, $50 each for entry, we didn’t think it would be worth the money seeing as we would only have a couple of hours to explore and the staff said ideally you need at least a full day if not 2 days to see & do everything! So we took a few photos and then drove on to Cocoa Beach instead, passing the rocket launch site along the way which was pretty cool. It must be amazing being there for a real rocket launch!

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This is the rocket launch bay!

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This hotel was called Faulty Towers!

 

By the time we decided to head back to the hotel it was dark. We were glad we went out and tried to make the most of the day and got to see somewhere different. But heading back just made us realise that we hadn’t heard from Virgin since the morning and had no idea what our plans were for the next 6 days.

When we arrived back at the hotel we were told that Virgin had been in contact with them and that we would be staying at the hotel for a further 2 nights. We were very grateful for the information and the staff were so helpful and friendly and made sure we were happy at all times. Virgin had also left us a message on our room phone, explaining what the hotel had already told us and how they were still looking into options for us. Even though we didn’t know what the rest of our honeymoon would entail at least we knew what we were doing for the next couple of days!

That night we decided to have a chilled evening at the hotel bar/lounge area, we drank cocktails and played cards whilst the thunder rolled in, wondering where we might end up next…

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Grasshoppers and Vodka!

 

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day One – Travelling!

Ever since we booked it, I felt like an excited child counting down the sleeps until both our wedding and honeymoon.

For our honeymoon we had planned a week in Orlando, Florida, followed by a week in The Bahamas and we couldn’t wait. Neither of us had visited The Bahamas before, but I had visited Orlando once, 15 years ago! I kept wondering how much had changed or how much of it I would remember. I also wondered how it would feel, visiting as an adult with my husband rather than as a child with my family.

I was so excited for our honeymoon that I had planned our itinerary months in advance. Matt thought I was a crazy lady but for those who don’t know, Disney planning is full on! You need to plan out what days you are visiting each park and even what rides you want to go on and where you want to eat! Of course you don’t have to be this organised, but then you will end up queueing for hours for attractions and you won’t get to eat in any of the table service restaurants. Luckily Matt let me plan a crazy busy week, fitting in as much as humanly possible knowing that we had a relaxing beach week to look forward to afterwards.

For Disney Parks, you can book reservations for shows and restaurants from 180 days in advance of your trip and believe me you need to, especially for the popular places such as Be our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Crystal Palace restaurants. Included with your park tickets you also have the use of FastPass+ which means you can pre book times for your favourite attractions from 30 days in advance.

I found that the best way to book all these things was to download the My Disney Experience App to my phone. You link your tickets to the app and then you can easily make selections and bookings. Then when you are actually at the parks you can keep track of ride wait times and it will tell you when your FastPass+ reservations are along with so much other stuff. Very handy and all the parks have free WiFi so no need to worry about data charges.

Universal Studios also has an app which we downloaded, however they don’t do their FastPass+ the same way and most of their restaurants you can easily book, there’s no mad rush like at Disney!

The countdown seemed slow to start with but then before we knew it the weeks were flying past, the wedding was sadly over and finally the day had come to begin our honeymoon!

We live very close to Gatwick Airport, which is a bit of a bonus and means we rarely experience that crazy holiday madness of actually getting to the airport. I still woke up like an excited 5 year old and annoyed Matt by constantly talking about our honeymoon plans and what I couldn’t wait for us to see/do/experience together, he probably couldn’t wait to get on the plane and put his headphones on!

 We purchased a Go Pro as we wanted to film on as many rides as possible and then we chilled with a late breakfast and bubbles, finally toasting the start of the next two weeks adventures! Unfortunately about half an hour before we were due to board, it was announced that our flight had been delayed by roughly 3 hours, bit annoying, however it did give us time to figure out how the Go Pro worked!
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Finally on board we had a nice flight. We had a tasty lunch, I opted for the chicken salad and we both watched a couple of films. Bad Neighbours 2 for the both of us which was OK but not as good as the first, but then when are they ever as good as the first? Then I watched Sisters, which I hoped would be really funny as it had the dream team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler however it wasn’t the best and Matt watched Money Monster with George Clooney, which he said was pretty good.

 

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On the Plane

It must have been about 5 hours into the flight when the turbulence started and I hate turbulence! I start panicking, I go clammy, I fear we are going to fall out of the sky, all the while Matt stays in the same position as he has been all along like nothing is happening. It makes me laugh as I really wish I could be the same but I can’t help but cling onto his arm as soon as the plane starts shaking. I always hope it’s just going to last a few minutes and then pass, but this time it probably lasted on/off for around an hour and at times it was so bumpy our drinks were spilling and even the cabin crew were told to sit down.

We landed in Orlando around 8pm and were treated to some huge lightning strikes on landing which, if we weren’t landing I would have freaked out about, however it looked really pretty as it fully lit up the sky and I was just happy we were almost off the plane!

We decided to hire a car for the week as we weren’t staying at a Disney or Universal resort hotel, so thought it would be the easiest way to get around and give us the freedom to explore as much of Orlando as possible. We decided to go for a Convertible Mustang, wanting to make the most of the Florida sunshine, but after collecting our luggage and making our way over to collect the car we started to worry that our luggage wouldn’t actually fit in it! After a bit of a shuffle and the bonus of me being short we managed to squeeze it all in and we could finally make our way to the hotel.
The next task was actually finding our hotel without a sat nav, as well as it being dark, driving on the wrong side of the road and both feeling pretty tired! Kindly the car hire staff printed us out the driving instructions and Matt got us to The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes.
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It was a beautiful hotel but I felt completely out of place looking dishevelled and tired in my comfy travelling clothes. But the staff were super friendly and got very excited when they realised it was our honeymoon. We made our way up to the 12th floor and both crashed onto our huge king sized bed exhausted but excited for the next day’s adventure.

Love, Chloe xx