A family enjoyed an elaborate stay after several attempts to travel to Disney World were canceled.
Like many others, Dom and Heather Hodgson, both 34, and their daughter Scarlett, four, couldn’t go on vacation last year as they were repeatedly forced to postpone a planned trip to Florida.
So Ms. Hodgson decided to plan a family getaway with breakfast in the departure lounge, in-flight movies, and a tropical hotel – all in her own home in Cross Gates, Leeds.
“We really didn’t have any vacation days in almost a year, so I decided we’d take a few days and start doing something interesting,” said Ms. Hodgson.
Mr. Hodgson knew nothing of the surprise beforehand, except that he had been told to take a few days off and he tweeted to the delight of his followers about the experience that happened.
In the morning they left the house with their luggage, went for a walk, and found that the airport was “conveniently located right outside our back door,” said Ms. Hodgson.
Without her family’s knowledge, she had created a special website for online check-in, video graphics for the departure lounge counting up to her flight to Hodgeland, and recorded airport announcements.
During the “trip” they would watch a movie together in flight while eating airplane-style snacks.
“We also had the iPad on the side so we could see the plane take off, so it looked like a little window,” Hodgson said. “Everyone had their own little drink and blanket and neck pillow.”
Upon arrival, Ms. Hodgson had set up a treadmill as a baggage belt.
Mr. Hodgson then took Scarlett “to see the area” for about an hour when his wife transformed the house into the “tropical paradise” of Hodgeland.
“The remodeling of the house was absolutely incredible,” said Hodgson.
The family is part of a timeshare program at Disney’s Polynesian resort in Florida. Hence Ms. Hodgson’s house was furnished as a reference to this place.
“It’s really bringing us the Disney vacation that we had to cancel last year,” said Hodgson.
Ms. Hodgson said she tried not to push the Disney theme too much because the family “missed it so much” and it became a “sore spot” after canceling trips to the resort several times.
The family is now booked for a trip there in November if pandemic restrictions allow.
Ms. Hodgson said daughter Scarlett was initially a little skeptical about the day’s activities and asked her parents, “Mom and Dad, are you trying to cheat on me?”
But when they said it was an exercise in the imagination, she began to “really enjoy it.”
Mr. Hodgson said, “When I took her out, she said, ‘I want to go back to the hotel, Papa. I want to see mom in the hotel. I can’t wait to see it! “
The couple said it was “isolating” for Scarlett not to see her friends lockdown, especially as they had to split their time between running their business and home schooling.
Ms. Hodgson said the stay was “good for her”.
“It was a great way to hang out with her,” she added.