Travel Fails: Orlando Edition

Magic Kingdom

Last year I finally managed to book my dream holiday to Orlando and although this is painful to write unfortunately it got off to the worst possible start. I booked the holiday through Tui last July after a large tax return and a big pay out from working at my brothers and immediately began counting down the days until February 10th 2020 when I’d finally set off.

The fails began the night before my flight. My first flight to Frankfurt was due to take off at 8:50AM and I am someone who would rather get to the airport nice and early with plenty of time for breakfast and browsing the shops rather than rushing through and only just arriving at the gate on time. So I decided to book a hotel near the airport for the night before so that I could just get up and walk over with no delays without having to rely on a taxi or public transport.

Getting to Birmingham airport the night before my flight was a nightmare within itself due to selfish Storm Ciara which was belting through the UK at full force. I kept checking the airport website and although a lot of flights were cancelled mine was still scheduled to go ahead so until I had any further information I figured it was probably best to just go to my hotel and get settled in. Train after train was cancelled but eventually my Mom managed to squeeze me onto a train to Birmingham New Street and I caught an equally crowded train from there to Birmingham International. It had been painful but I’d made it.

I checked into my hotel, had dinner at Frankie and Benny’s in the airport, watched the remaining two episodes of The Witcher I had left and then settled into bed ready for my early flight. At 5AM I woke up and found I hadn’t received any notification that my flight was cancelled so I was relieved but decided I should double check on the airport website just in case. Lo and behold, it announced my flight was cancelled.

My original plan had been to wake up steadily, checkout of the hotel at 6AM and walk over but now I raced to get dressed and rushed over to the airport to find out what was going on. There weren’t any Tui staff around but my flights were actually with Lufthansa who were really helpful, they gave me a phone number so I sat outside the airport and rang their main office. I was praying they’d put me on a flight to Dublin and I could change there (the storm had died down in England by this point but apparently it was still going at full force in Germany) but the soonest they could get me on a flight was Wednesday 12th February. Two days from my trip lost.

Chip and Dale

I know it could’ve been worse but I’d been so excited for this trip that I had a little cry outside the airport before ringing my Mom and explaining the situation to her. I was worried about how I’d get back to the airport on Wednesday morning but she immediately told me not to worry because she’d get up and take me herself. Once we were done I had breakfast in the airport before catching the train back home. Luckily I don’t live too far from Birmingham Airport so getting home wasn’t the end of the world.

Initially I’d dreaded those 48 hours at home, I thought they’d go at snail’s pace and I’d spend the whole time thinking about how I should be in Orlando but to be fair they went quicker than I thought. On Monday I watched ‘Ladybird’ on Netflix before going to our local cinema to see ‘Birds of Prey’ then on Tuesday I chilled at home before going to surprise my Nan in the evening (who had no idea my flight had been cancelled and had assumed I was already in America). Before I knew it my alarm was going off at 4:20AM on Wednesday morning and it was time to set off.

The flights went as well as they could have, there were only a couple of slight fails. The first being that I seemed to have completely lost my nerve on flights as normally I listen to music during take-off but I was too scared to do anything until the plane had levelled out and even when it had music just wasn’t distracting me the way it normally does. Luckily I had my Amazon Fire Tablet with me so I managed to watch a couple of episodes of Derry Girls to keep myself calm. Then on my long-haul flight to Orlando I watched my first movie (Ready or Not) and by the time it was done we were two hours into the flight so I decided to check whereabouts on the map we were – we’d just flown back over the UK. In future I think I’ll just pay extra and go direct, an absolute waste of 4 – 5 hours.

We landed into Orlando bang on time and then we had to go through border control which honestly was a joke, I’d estimate I was stood in that queue for at least 50 minutes. I know they’re strict in America but come on. I didn’t need to wait for my suitcase when I got through, I imagine it had done about 30 laps by the time I was cleared.

Epcot

On Monday when my flights had been cancelled I’d rang my hotel in Disney to inform them they could expect me to arrive on Wednesday instead – they said it was fine but since it was so early over there could I call back later when everything had opened just to confirm and I said I would. However in the meantime Tui rang me and informed me they’d sort the hotel and transfer for me – they’d been so useless helping me with my flights that I let them get on with it as surely this is what I’d paid them for in the first place.

The transfer went fine, I got on the Magic Express which was fun as there are screens which tell you useful information about the hotel and the parks, they also have trivia and play cartoons as well. I always say the worst part of landing in a new country for me is having to find my hotel so not having to do that was such a relief.

The hotel I’d chosen was All-Star Music – the All-Star hotels are basically Disney’s budget resorts and were essentially the only ones I could afford. There are three – Music, Movies and Sports. Movies was slightly more expensive for some reason and I didn’t want Sports as I’m not a fan of any type of sport. So I’d settled on Music and was looking forward to checking in, maybe grabbing dinner, having a shower and collapsing into bed.

The queue for check-in took a while but eventually it was my turn and up I went. Only to be told Tui hadn’t been in touch with the hotel and they were now fully booked so they didn’t have any room for me. I wasn’t too worried when she told me as I assumed since I had a booking and I’d paid for it they’d have to sort it out for me but when the receptionist rang Guest Services they basically told me they could accommodate me at All-Star Sports but Tui still had my hotel money so I’d either have to contact them or pay $1650 for a new eight night booking.

The poor receptionist saw how upset I was about all of this and came round to give me a hug then took me outside to point me in the direction of the hotel. I can’t fault how lovely she was, she gave me another hug and then told me if I was truly stuck I should come back and find her as she was on until 11PM.

Luckily All-Star Sports was like a five minute walk away so I set off and rang the number I’d found for Tui on Google, got through all the automated questions only for a voice to tell me ‘sorry, our offices are closed right now. Please call back in the morning’. I’d been awake almost 24 hours at this point, was sweating to death and was now officially worried I’d have nowhere to stay for my trip. I burst into tears and just about managed to pull myself together when I walked into the reception of All-Star Sports.

I was set off again when the receptionist called me forward and asked if I was checking in. I sobbed my situation to her and she disappeared to find a senior member of staff. She was gone for a while and my anxiety only built but she came back over, handed me a box of tissues and said “Please don’t worry about this, you’re at Disney okay? We will sort this out for you.” She went back off and eventually came back with a senior member of staff and they explained to me that I could secure my booking with an $86 deposit and I’d have to call Tui in the morning when their offices reopened.

All Star Sports

Their customer service was fantastic to be fair, I wept to the receptionist that it was my first time and it had all gone wrong so far and she gave me a ‘1st Visit’ badge, found me a pink magic band at my request and then gave me a couple of meal vouchers – one for dinner and one for breakfast the next morning. She was like “Go and get yourself some dinner, calm down a bit, get into bed and then you can sort this in the morning.” It was lovely but by that point I was way too tired for dinner so when I got my room number I went straight there, had a shower and collapsed into bed.

I hadn’t slept a wink on the plane on the way over so I figured I’d collapse into bed and sleep until 7AM but I kept waking up and eventually at 5AM decided to just start the day. I was just so worried about not having anywhere to stay for the rest of my trip that I couldn’t drop off. I messaged my Mom to let her know what had happened and rang Tui again.

The night before I’d let them know the situation and they’d said they’d sort it for me but I hadn’t received anything from them so I called them again and they basically said I’d have to wait until the American offices opened but that they’d sort it out for me. To be honest I wasn’t entirely hopeful that they would but I had no other choice than to trust them so I got myself some breakfast in the hotel with my voucher, packed my suitcase, stored it with the hotel and then set off to Hollywood Studios to try and start my holiday.

Hollywood Studios

Unfortunately Tui had also kept hold of the money for my park tickets so when my Magic Band didn’t work I got directed to Guest Services who advised me of this. I was so close to losing my s*it at this point but luckily the woman at the desk managed to get me a one day ticket and made sure my fast passes were also linked to the Magic Band.

My first day in the park was honestly perfect, it was almost like the staff knew how crap my trip had been so far and went out of their way to make my day perfect. Just before my Frozen Singalong fastpass I decided to grab a drink and a snack so I went to a cart and ordered a chocolate chip cookie and a bottle of water. The woman picked up another cookie and said “This ones broken so you can have it for free” and when I moved down to pay the man my money he was like “You know what, have it all for free. Happy first visit.”

Finally at around 3PM I got a call from Tui to say my hotel and park tickets had been restored and I shouldn’t encounter anymore problems. I text my Mom who told me I should pop back to the hotel and double check but no, screw them, I was having fun and I wasn’t going to let this ruin my holiday any further. I stayed in the park, had an amazing day and when I got back to the hotel the staff had taken my luggage to the room and already linked my tickets to my Magic Band. The holiday really was saved.

Any fails that happened after that were pretty minor and probably not even worth mentioning. Nothing too catastrophic happened until my return flight to Frankfurt.

Peter Pan's Flight

After a week of non-stop walking and queuing around the parks I was almost looking forward to sitting down for seven straight hours (if I liked flying) so I didn’t feel as nervous as usual when I boarded the plane. We took off and I remember thinking that in the grand scheme of things it was a decent take-off and naively assumed this meant we were in for a good flight.

About an hour into the flight we hit some turbulence and I remember thinking ‘oh s*it’ because the seatbelt signs immediately switched on and the pilot made a hurried announcement to tell the cabin crew to take their seats. And then the plane dropped – a few people went ‘ooh’. Me? I legit shrieked/screamed. Then it dropped again and it was shaking all over the place and I was honest to God panicking. The poor guy sitting on the window seat leaned over and told me “Planes never crash due to turbulence, we’re not going to crash” to which I just chanted back “I DON’T LIKE IT, I REALLY DON’T LIKE IT!”

How everybody else calmly just carried on watching their movies I’ll never know. I’ve never felt panic like it in my entire life and every time I think about it I honestly feel sick to my stomach… During that moment I remember thinking ‘I can never fly again after this’. It was honestly horrible and what’s worse is that that’s not as bad as turbulence can get. I couldn’t stand anything worse than that.

After about an hour although the plane was still a bit shaky the seatbelt sign was turned off and the cabin crew continued serving dinner, of which I only managed a few bites because I was genuinely worried that if the turbulence got bad again I’d vomit. One member of the cabin crew serving drinks asked if I was okay and when I told him no he tried to keep me calm and then said he was gonna finish serving but would come back and have a chat in a bit. He did and although he hasn’t cured my fear of turbulence or flying (I doubt anything will at this point) it was nice of him to go out of his way like that.

Luckily the rest of the flight wasn’t as bad as the initial turbulence but it was still quite shaky and every time I’d pray that the plane wouldn’t drop again. Another reason I’d definitely get a direct flight in the future (because I’m trying not to let that bad experience put me off forever) is that it was shaky flying over the UK and it both annoyed and terrified me that I’d have to go through it all over again to get home.

The confidence I’d built over the last year on flights was now completely evaporated and whenever the plane from Frankfurt to Birmingham made the slightest movement I was alert. I tried to relax and watch a movie on my Amazon Fire Tablet but in the end all I could do was thank God it wasn’t too long of a flight. I thanked God even more when we were back on solid ground, finally at home in England.

Normally on the return flight I’m so exhausted from all the walking/sight-seeing that I manage to get some sleep but I didn’t get a wink of sleep so I was DRAINED by the time I got home and gratefully collapsed into bed at 7PM. I didn’t even get the weekend to rest because before I booked my holiday I’d booked a ticket to see BabyMetal in Manchester so I had to get up and get ready for that.

I’d say that out of all my trips so far these were my worst travel fails but regardless it was still one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on and I’m desperate to go back to Disneyworld Orlando one day. I’ve already started researching but can’t find a deal as good as the one I found for this trip! I’ll have to keep looking.

Top 20 K-Pop Songs of 2019

Red Velvet

As with 2017 and 2018’s lists, this is just my personal twenty favourite K-Pop songs from 2019 (as it’s so late I’m only doing 20 this year!). As with the previous years a group will only be mentioned on here once but soloists and sub-units can be mentioned even if the group has already been on here. Here goes nothing!

20. Rocket Punch – Bim Bam Bum

Rocket Punch Bim Bam Bum gif

Rocket Punch had their debut in 2019 with this song and I loved it from first listen. It’s not my favourite song ever but it was a solid debut and I’m looking forward to seeing what else Rocket Punch release in the future. Good luck to them!

19. G-Friend – Sunrise

G-Friend Sunrise gif

Whilst I still love G-Friend I wasn’t feeling their releases last year as much as I have in previous years. ‘Fever’ really isn’t my bop although I did like ‘Sunrise’ – it’s just not as iconic as previous years like when they released ‘Rough’, ‘Fingertip’ or ‘Memoria’. I still love the group and will be keeping an eye out for their 2020 releases because I’m sure they’ll continue to have good comebacks.

18. Oh My Girl – Bungee

Oh My Girl Bungee gif

I mentioned in 2018’s post that I hadn’t been too keen on ‘Oh My Girl’s releases. They just really weren’t my cup of tea and I found them a bit boring. I much preferred ‘Bungee’ because it was much more lively and a really fun song. It’s not their best song but it’s still a lot of fun and it’s really cute!

17. Itzy – Dalla Dalla

Itzy Dalla Dalla gif

Another girl group debut that was pretty good – it didn’t blow my socks off or anything but Itzy did have a solid debut and I also enjoyed their comeback with ‘Icy’. I don’t think Itzy will ever be my favourite group but I enjoy their songs and their concept so far so you never know. I’m looking forward to seeing what they release in 2020!

16. Chungha – Snapping

Chungha Snapping gif

When it was announced Chungha was going solo I was really excited – she’d been my IOI bias and I was looking forward to seeing what kind of songs she released. Unfortunately I wasn’t fond of her debut and I found that I didn’t love her early comebacks. I still loved her but I wasn’t really vibing with her music. I’m pretty sure I heard ‘Snapping’ at a K-Pop Night in Birmingham so decided to check it out and suddenly I had this song on repeat and couldn’t stop listening to it. I’ll be looking forward to more Chungha releases in the future!

15. Dreamcatcher – Piri

Dreamcatcher Piri gif

I love this song but I have a feeling I’ve listened to it one too many times – otherwise I think it would’ve been further up the list. But objectively it is still a good song and I wish I could’ve seen Dreamcatcher live last year but unfortunately their show was on a week day and I really didn’t want to take two days off work to go and see them again. More weekend concerts in the future please!

14. SuperM – Jopping

SuperM Jopping gif

I won’t lie to you, I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of ‘SuperM’. I think as a one-off collaboration I’d have been more down but a permanent group as a mix of members from already established groups just seemed like a really weird idea? I’m not a massive boy group stan (except for BTS really) so although I liked all the groups individually I wasn’t too hyped to give this song a listen but everyone on Twitter was talking about it so I put it on and actually really liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Still not sold on the idea of ‘SuperM’ but I have to admit, ‘Jopping’ was a good song.

13. Cherry Bullet – Q&A

Cherry Bullet Q&A gif

Yet another girl group debut that I loved – it seemed like a lot of groups debuted last year, I swear we’re getting more and more every year. I love the gaming concept Cherry Bullet have so was excited to listen to their debut and they didn’t disappoint. I did like their comeback with ‘Really Really’ but I don’t think it was as good as ‘Q&A’. This is another girl group I’ll be looking out for in 2020!

12. AleXa – Bomb

AleXa Bomb gif

This came up on my YouTube recommendations and I quickly discovered this was AleXa’s debut song and for the first verse I wasn’t 100% sure on the song but by the time the chorus hit I was sold. It’s super catchy, the choreography is incredible and AleXa is just clearly super talented. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in 2020!

11. Nature – Oopsie (My Bad)

Nature Oopsie My Bad gif

I gave Nature a listen in 2018 and liked their song ‘Some (You’ll Be Mine)’ – it wasn’t incredible and not a song I had on repeat or anything but it was a decent song and made my list last year. Then last year Nature came back with ‘Oopsie (My Bad)’ and I actually loved this song upon first listen. So catchy and fun! I’ve said this with most of the songs I’ve chosen but I’m looking forward to seeing what else Nature comeback with.

10. Hwasa – TWIT

Hwasa Twit gif

Although I wasn’t massively keen on most of Mamamoo’s most recent comebacks I’ve still been keeping an eye out because like you never know. Then suddenly Hwasa released a solo song – I think all the members of Mamamoo are insanely talented so I’d always check out any solo songs the girls decided to release which is how I heard Hwasa’s ‘TWIT’ and instantly loved it. The girl can do pretty much everything – sing, dance, rap and she definitely showcased her talents in this song. I hope she gets more solos in the future!

9. MOMOLAND – I’m So Hot

MOMOLAND I'm So Hot gif

Last year wasn’t the best year for the group as two of the members have officially left with another pending a final decision. Two of the members didn’t participate for this comeback earlier last year but the song was still really good and one that I loved instantly from first listen. I’m proud of how far MOMOLAND have come over the past year but I hope the fact they’ve lost a couple of members and only had one comeback last year doesn’t affect them too much.

8. TWICE – Feel Special

TWICE Feel Special gif

To tell you the truth I wasn’t too fussed about this song or ‘Fancy’ when they were first released but for some reason in November I went through a TWICE phase and only wanted to listen to their songs. Whilst ‘Fancy’ is a good song I definitely ended up preferring ‘Feel Special’ for some reason. I’m not even particularly sure why because it’s not my usual type of song but TWICE smashed it and I absolutely love it – not as much as some of their comebacks from previous years but it’s still a great song!

7. Red Velvet – Zimzalabim

Red Velvet Zimzalabim gif

You know what, I don’t care what people have to say about this song – it was one of my favourite comebacks last year! Yes, it was a bit all over the place but plenty of good songs are – look at Girls’ Generation’s ‘I Got a Boy’. A bit of a mess upon first listen but once you get used to it it’s a lot of fun and really catchy. If you didn’t like it then fair enough but I really did!

6. BTS – Dionysus

BTS Dionysus gif

To tell you the truth I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘Boy With Luv’ – it’s a good song but it definitely would have been lower down on this list but I absolutely loved ‘Dionysus’ which was the song they opened with at both the Wembley concerts. It was a good song to get everyone lit and it makes me happy whenever I listen to it. I’m sure BTS will have another amazing year in 2020 and I’m looking forward to it! Here’s hoping they come back to the UK.

5. Somi – Birthday

Somi Birthday gif

I hadn’t realised Somi was having a solo debut until my friend Jess asked if I’d listened to ‘Birthday’. I heard it briefly at K-Pop Night in Birmingham, came home, listened to it and suddenly I was hooked. I’m surprised that many people are saying Somi can’t sing – the song didn’t have the largest vocal range and was presumably supposed to be a fun debut rather than show off what her voice can do. And a lot of people are saying she can’t handle being solo but I think it was a really good debut like I genuinely don’t understand? I’m sure Somi has a good career ahead of her.

4. Black Pink – Kill This Love

Black Pink Kill This Love gif

Black Pink absolutely smashed their comeback last year, this song will probably go down as one of those iconic K-Pop songs and honestly it deserves it. Although I like the majority of Black Pink songs this was the first one that I immediately loved upon first hearing it. It was instantly on repeat and is definitely my favourite Black Pink song to date.

3. Mamamoo – Hip

Mamamoo Hip gif

When I first listened to this song I was like ‘it’s okay’ but upon the second listen I was suddenly hooked. I’m pretty sure I had this song on repeat for two days and still didn’t tire of it but forced myself to listen to different songs so that I wouldn’t suddenly hate this one. Again, this is probably my favourite Mamamoo song released yet and I loved pretty much everything about it. The girls also looked incredible for this comeback, I loved Solar’s pink and black hair (although I’m pretty sure it was a wig but she should go for that look in the future). It feels nice to love Mamamoo’s songs again because I’ve always loved the members!

2. CLC – Me

CLC Me gif

Let’s be real, CLC slayed the game last year. I had trouble narrowing it down between ‘No’, ‘Me’ and ‘Devil’ but in the end settled on ‘Me’ because it’s definitely my favourite comeback last year. However, congratulations to CLC for finally receiving their long-deserved first win with ‘No’! I’m so proud of them for finally achieving this goal and ‘No’ was definitely an award-worthy song. I loved every comeback they had last year so much, CLC just keep providing solid comeback after comeback ever since they released ‘Black Dress’. I bet their songs will be just as amazing in 2020!

1. Weki Meki – Picky Picky

Weki Meki Picky Picky gif

Although I’d enjoyed ‘I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend’ I hadn’t LOVED it and it’s not a song I can listen to on repeat. Then after that I wasn’t overly fond of Weki Meki’s comebacks but then I saw a meme on Twitter of someone saying ‘Why don’t you have a boyfriend?’ and someone responded with the ‘I’m so picky, picky, picky’ part from this song. It intrigued me so I listened to the full song and as with some of the songs on this list I was hooked from that first listen. I’m not sure what’s made it my number one song for this year, maybe because I’ve listened to it over and over again and it still hypes me up as much as it did the first time I listened to it. I requested this song at K-Pop Night in Birmingham and had so much fun dancing to it. It’s definitely making me look forward to more Weki Meki comebacks.

So there we have it, my top twenty K-Pop songs from 2019! Feel free to leave a comment with your favourites from last year.