Here are some more details.
I was able to be broadly flexible with dates, so I went to the Virgin Atlantic site and set some parameters and it gives you a matrix of options. Ordinarily, I immediately select “direct flights only”, but the prices were insanely high. Well, I was looking at Upper Class, which is the business class product on Virgin. So, then I thought, OK, I’ll slum it and travel in Premium Economy. I mean, it still gets you there, right?
But I forgot to select “direct flights only” and I saw some (relatively) very low prices in PE. When I clicked though, I saw that they were routing via Atlanta. Well, I wasn’t committing myself to anything, so I continued with the process anyway. At the end — having chosen fantasy dates and flights — it did the usual upselling trick and offered me an upgrade to UC. Usually this is insanely expensive, but on this occasion it was crazy cheap. You know, relatively.
I realised that routing through ATL would save me nearly two thousand bucks and make UC entirely affordable and not completely out of the question for this trip.
So I messaged Virgin and told them what flights I wanted with my vouchers, and they confirmed this afternoon.
The layovers each way in ATL are about two hours each, and the ATL to MCO flights are only an hour and a half. And I’m in first class so, you know, I can live with it.
There’s another slightly odd advantage to taking this route. Normally I fly direct and get into MCO at about 3pm. It’s then a mad dash to check in to the hotel, drop off my bags, and rush to the parks. I often have something booked — a dessert party or After Hours event. It becomes quite stressful. (Will I get there in time?) Then I end up closing the park (it’s always MK) and getting to bed midnight US time, which is five in the morning UK time. I end up getting not much sleep and a pall of tiredness hangs over the rest of the trip.
But with the ATL routing I get in to MCO at 8pm. There’s no hope of any park action. So I’ll take the DME to my room, settle in, maybe explore the resort a bit, but I’ll go to bed at a sensible time and be ready to get up for rope-drop the following morning. I’ll do a @Randall1028 and be a morning guy. And just power through to close.
I’m staying at ASMu. As has been observed on another thread, WDW on-site hotels are weirdly booked up in October. The only affordable option was ASMu — no Pop, no CSR, no ASMo. After that it’s crazy villas for $14,000 a night.
I’m fine with ASMu — provided I get a refurbished room. They are basically the same as the ones at Pop and, for a solo traveller, they’re perfectly acceptable places to stay.
I’m staying six nights, so I’ll have five full days in the parks. I’ll get no action on arrival or departure days.
I have — at this stage, at least — no expectations beyond just being in the damned parks. I don’t even need rides. Just put me on Main Street with a frappuccino and I’ll be as happy as Larry. The next day I’ll walk around the TOL at AK. With a frappuccino. The next day I’ll walk around WS. With, well, you get the picture.
Sure, I’ll give ROTR a shot. It really won’t be the end of the world if I don’t ride it. I’ve done it before. Three times. Ratatouille? Please, they’ve had it in France for nearly a decade. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Well, the pin.
Will the trip actually take place? Who knows. But, as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” There’s nothing to be lost in booking. I might get to go. If I don’t book, I certainly won’t go. (Look at me quoting baseball stars!)
But if there’s anything any of you can do to persuade President Biden to reopen the country, I sure would be grateful.
Meantime, I’ve still got my cruise next month, and DLP in December — if that happens. Everything is so up in the air everywhere in the world it seems — apart from the damned US.