As is normal with your first couple of days in Orlando, adjusting to the five hour time difference, your sleep is not deepest, so We were disturbed at around 7.30am when the music for the pool started playing extremely loudly. Taking a look outside the bedroom windows, we found that the speakers were literally a meter from the window of the room. This was Caribbean steel drum type music, so was of a high pitch throughout.
Headed down to breakfast, we went to the Virgin Holidays breakfast room and two experiences of opposite emotions met us. Firstly, and possibly the only positive we can really take from this stay was being reacquainted with Enrique. He had been working the Virgin Breakfasts two years previous and remembered me from before. His cheery attitude and customer interactions made a big difference to what would prove a dreary breakfast experience each day.
The breakfast room itself doubles as the hotels main eatery during the day, a small Pizza Hut and burger type bar with a gift shop off to one side. Disappointingly, we found the tables were not clean and the most enticing to eat your breakfast at. The clothes the staff used left massive streaks and smears on the tables, the floor felt sticky and unclean under foot.
Having really enjoyed the breakfasts so much on the previous trip, it was disheartening to find that the range had reduced, and as we found during the week, the selection did not change much each day. Admittedly, very few hotels offer inclusive breakfasts in Orlando, but after a couple of days, the selection does lose your interest.
This is where the American customer service shone through with Enrique. Friendly and chatty, he had time to talk to customers, remembering and relating to you throughout. He took a shine to young Abigail who sat in her chair happily enjoying the attention from everyone as we ate breakfast.
After breakfast, We met with the Virgin rep who had to make several phone calls to understand why we had not been given the correct room option by the hotel given the kids option shown on the invoice. Eventually, after about thirty minutes, it was revealed that this was an option we would have to pay for on arrival at the hotel, so we had to pay an extra £250 to keep the room large enough for the three adults and a cot.
After she had spoken to several colleagues who were also confused by the wording on the invoice, she informed us that the brochure highlighted that the costs would be charged locally, but on-line is not so clear to the user.
Having spent nearly two hours sorting out the arrangements with the rep and the hotel, we had lost the days’ activities previously booked at the theme parks. Having booked Fastpass tickets for the popular rides in advance and feeling totally deflated from having to start the first day with the issues, we did not want to face a day of queues at Disney.
We returned to our room from a day out about mid-afternoon hoping to relax and rest after the previous day’s travelling, but the continuous and loud music meant that this was not possible.The music was very loud and we had to ask reception to have it turned down as the Abigail was not able to sleep, her arms and legs moving along to the beat of the music. With the layout of the room, her cot was closest to the window and the speakers.
This ran until about 10pm before being turned off. Abigail finally settled to sleep around 10.30pm, but the rest of us where left totally shattered as we had had to endure the music and were not able to rest ourselves.
At the time we had returned to the hotel, I had to get the room key card reset as it was not allowing access to the room. The hotel told us that it was quite common for the door cards to be wiped if kept near mobile phones. Given the costs of using a British mobile in the U.S., this was kept in our bag while they hotel card was in my wallet in my pocket.
All in all, the highlight of our first day in America was shopping at Wal-mart (please see our separate article on our Wal-mart experience) and left us drained and emotional.