We have finally arrived safely in Orlando, Florida. We woke up at 4.15am to be at the airport reading to catch our 7am flight from Brisbane to Sydney, which was quite pleasant. We were seated the row behind the exit seats, but luckily for us the plane was not full and it is a requirement to have those seats occupied for 'the unlikely event of an emergency'. The nice flight attendant spotted that we were tall and asked if we would like to move, so we had just over an hour of bliss, with plenty of leg room and breakfast served. However this is where our good luck ended. On the flight from Sydney to Los Angeles (13 hours) we were again sitting the row behind the exit row, but this time the plane was not empty. We were also right next to the galley, so getting sleep was rather difficult with all the rattling of food carts and flight attendants coming and going with drinks and things. So after a couple of movies, listening to music, and a bit of sleep, it was time for our next challenge – getting ourselves checked in to our flight to Orlando.
Our bags had been checked all the way through, so we dropped them off at the transfer section, and made our way upstairs to check in. We were told to use the self check in computers, but it didn't seem to work for Brett (Adrian's best man, work mate, and now travel buddy). We checked that we were doing the right thing, and yes we were, so Adrian gave it a go. His worked, so he and I had our tickets – now it was just fingers crossed that Brett would get his. Apparently the reason he couldn't get his ticket was because his name was on the 'risk list' (not sure of the exact term), but there were no problems and he ended up on the seat behind mine. By this point we were now cutting it fine for boarding time, and the American security checks at the aiport didn't help. Not only do you have to put your bag through (which means taking laptops out), you also have to take off all your jackets/coats AND shoes, so getting going again on the other side is a slow process. The flight from LA to Orlando was with American Airlines, and although 4 hours long they don't feed you. We had no time though to line up to buy something to take on, so instead we spent $5 on a turkey and cheese bagel. I'm going to have to get used to bagels, but only if I have to – the aren't the nicest thing in the world. Adrian and I managed to get quite a bit of sleep on the flight, so were not too stressed when only 3 of our 4 bags turned up. We lodged this with the airline and the bag had a note to say it had been sent on the next flight, and they will then send it out to our hotel.
So after sorting all that out, we finally got to go outside into the fresh air! We caught a taxi to our hotel (Caribbean Beach Resort) which took approx. 20-30mins and cost $60. The resort is massive – 2000 rooms – but is spread out into 56 buildings in 7 areas – we are in Trinidad South. There is a shuttle bus that takes you wherever you need to go internally, and several buses to the different theme parks that make up DisneyWorld. After settling into our room (Brett was wtih us for the first night), we met Damien (another bloke from Ephox) and Nicole at Old Port Royale – the place in our resort where you can eat. We had seen that there were different eating places, and so we assumed it would be like a hotel with little restaurants. Wrong! It's like being in a shopping centre – there's a shopping area when you first walk in, then one restaurant (which couldn't seat us til 9pm) and all the other eating places are take-away type things. We ate from the pizza and pasta place, which has next to no choice, then paid at the central pay station, while Nicole found us a table. I'ts very loud and unpleasant so we're going to avoid eating there at all costs.
We ate quickly, said goodnight to Damien and Nicole and headed back to our room. We had a quick chat to a few people on Skype before heading to bed for some hard-earned sleep. The alarm went off at 6am, and the boys got ready for their first day at the conference. They left at 6.30 and I got up soon after to write this. I am now going to get dressed and go on my first adventure – finding breakfast and then Magic Kingdom Park.