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Day 0 – To Gatwick & Beyond! / The First Time 2011

Welcome to my first-ever Disney Trip Report! It’s called The First Time 2011 (for obvious reasons!) and today is 0 – because it’s the day before we fly out to Orlando, and stay at the airport hotel!

The First Time 2011 Trip Report Index has the full list of days for the trip. You can also check out my 2011 Pre-Trip Planning Report to find out more about us!

Day 0 - To Gatiwck & Beyond (The First Time 2011 Disney Trip Report)

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Day 0: Hilton Hotel Gatwick South

Dinner at The Garden Restaurant

3rd August 2011

My dad turned up at about 5 pm to drive us to Gatwick Airport. Steve, having been at work that day, turned up about 5 minutes later…

A few last-minute checks – TICKETS, MONEY, PASSPORTS – were made, and with everything packed the weekend before, we were good to go!

Cases loaded into the boot of the car, we departed from our house around 5:30, hit a bit of traffic on the QE2 Bridge, but other than that, an easy and quick ride to the airport.

Motorway Sign to Gatwick Airport

The sign to the Gatwick Hilton, where we were staying the night before our flight, was partially covered by a tree.

Dad went whizzing by and straight into the airport car park – no reversing!

Luckily, they must plan for such things, as there was a sign to say to take a ticket and exit for free.

Another drive around and this time he hit the right turning!

Hilton Gatwick Airport Entrance

With everything offloaded from the car, and hugging my dad goodbye, we called for help from the hotel with our luggage and the concierge turned up with a trolley.

We met him by the check-in desk upstairs, where there was a bit of panic as they couldn’t find our booking on the system!

After producing proof (our email confirmation printout) and re-checking, we were given a room key, and off we went.

We nipped into the room to dump the things we didn’t need to check in at the airline desk, and I took a few pics as I always do!

Hilton Gatwick Airport Beds
Hilton Gatwick Airport TV
Hilton Gatwick Airport Kettle Facilities
Hilton Gatwick Airport Toiletries

First impressions? Not very flashy for a posh hotel!

We then took the approximately 5-minute walk to the South Terminal to do twilight check-in. This service was the main reason we booked an overnight stay at this hotel.

Walkway to Gatwick South
Gatwick South Terminal Departures

There was a small queue at the desk, but nothing major; we had to wait for maybe 15 minutes or so.

Virgin Twilight Check-in

We weighed our cases – all underweight since we packed very lightly.

I also asked if it was okay to take my plastic crochet hook on board, which it was.

She asked if our hand luggage was under 6kg (it was) and after being handed some custom cards to pre-fill before getting to Orlando, we walked back to the hotel.

Steve and Liam popped back to the room to drop our hand luggage off, whilst I sat in the bar area.

I was approached by a waiter and stupidly ordered 3 diet cokes… a big mistake…not much change from £9!!

For 3½ pints of post-mix and a lime wedge?! Shocking!! This photo has been dubbed the £3 glass of coke.

Expensive Glass of Coke

We then made our way to The Garden Restaurant, one of the hotel’s eateries.

We got seated quickly and a hostess guided us through the buffet, which cost £25.95 per person – very pricey for a not-overly-impressive buffet!

Liam got pizza and chips which cost about £15 as there wasn’t much he would have eaten on the buffet.

We also ordered a jug of free tap water to save money on drinks!

There was a salad bar to act as a starter with a good selection of items including coleslaw, potato salad, couscous, lettuce, prawns, smoked salmon, hummus, taramasalata, anchovies, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, artichokes, feta, mozzarella, and bread – amongst other things!

The main dishes included lamb, chicken, pork, roast vegetables, lentil curry and rice, mushroom and ricotta cannelloni, potatoes, and steamed vegetables.

There was a nice selection of desserts, mainly pre-made cakes, flavours included Baileys, black forest, and citrus. There was also an apple pie, fruit, cheese, and crackers.

Gatwick South Hilton Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Dinner Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Dinner Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Pizza
Gatwick South Hilton Desserts Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Desserts Buffet
Gatwick South Hilton Hotel

We walked dinner off by popping outside and walking around the hotel, watching the airplanes.

Then back to the hotel room for some shut-eye after hand-writing my trip report and editing my iPhone pics.

We’re all so excited about our flight tomorrow morning!

All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!

Read about the day after:
Day 1 – Up, Up & Away!
Virgin Atlantic LGW-MCO

» Read ALL the days!

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