Manchester to Florida (Sanford) is a 9 1/2hr flight. I cannot sit still for that long. I don't even sleep for 9 1/2hrs at a time, so sitting on a plane for that long in a state of wild giddy excitement was not a good thing.
Thomas Cook airlines was kind of blah. I'm used to Air Canada quality flying, so it was a bit of a down-grade, I think, the little personal TVs were weird, the films all started together (instead of being able to flick to one and start it when you want), and so you had to wait for them all to finish before choosing a new one. It was comfortable though and the food was good (and for once I didn't regret eating it the next day, which is rare for me and aeroplane food).
When we last outside in England it was a) just after 5am and b) just over 5°C. When we arrived in Florida, it was just after 2pm local time, and heading for 26°C. I lasted until we got to the car rental place in the Gongshow hoodie, and then I had to give in and carry it rather than wearing it.
We rented a car from Alamo, who were kind enough to give us a free upgrade, because the travel agent had only booked us a compact car, and our cases wouldn't have fitted in it!! We ended up with a Toyota Yaris, the most important part being that it had air conditioning.
We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Seaworld. Two weeks at that hotel was the same price as one week at the cheapest Disney resort. I'm glad we stayed where we did, we were barely in the hotel and spending extra money just for a Disney resort would have been a waste. We didn't even have time to use the pool at the hotel, and we didn't use any of the other facilities either, besides the internet cafe which we used to book tickets, etc. I emailed a few days before we went to request a tower room, which was no additional charge. I received an out of office reply, and then nothing further. When we arrived, we were booked into a room in one of their older motel-style blocks, which at first I wasn't that happy about! However, the room was lovely, and being on the ground floor motel block meant that we were never parked more than a few meters away from the bedroom door. That came in handy after 12+hrs at the parks!
Because a 3am wake-up call and a 9.5hr flight just isn't enough activity for one day (well, it wasn't for me!) we headed out to Downtown Disney for something to eat.
The original plan was to go to T Rex for a Porkasaurus burger, but when we saw the queue, we opted for Pollo Campero instead. The food was good, chicken burgers, chicken strips, and skin-on fries. I think we paid about $10 each with a drink. Then we followed the delicious smells to Girardelli's. Girardelli's is split in two, half is a chocolate shop (go in, you get a free sample!!) and coffee shop, and the other half is an ice cream parlour where they make fresh waffle cones.
Meet the first giant food of the trip. That ice cream was amazing, by the way, and the waffle cones were to die for.