Virgin marks Orlando milestone

This month Virgin Atlantic celebrates its 20th anniversary of flights to Orlando in Florida and to celebrate, Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Walt Disney World, Orlando, to offer children passengers travelling on the Orlando flights departing from Gatwick on the 28 May Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears.  In celebration Disney will also grant one lucky family a ‘Disney Dream’ in honour of the Year of a Million Dreams 2 celebrations currently taking place in the resorts.  The lucky family chosen will become the grand marshalls in the ‘Disney Dreams Come True’ pre-parade in the Magic Kingdom on Thursday 29 May with full VIP treatment for the park. 

The airline first launched its daily service from London Gatwick airport to Orlando airport in May 1988 as the airline’s third destination, and since then almost 10 million passengers have travelled to the popular leisure destination famous for its theme parks.

The route proved so popular that in May 1996 a daily service from Manchester to Orlando was added followed by a second daily service from Gatwick in June 1998.  Last summer, seasonal services from Glasgow added yet more services to this ever-popular destination. 

Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“20 years on this sunny and fun-filled destination has never lost its appeal for British holidaymakers.  We’re pleased recently to have been able to expand with seasonal flights into Glasgow in the last year.


“Year after year so many families continue to visit the home of world-renowned Walt Disney World with almost half of all Brits choosing to fly with Virgin Atlantic.  With the combined effect of the strength of the pound against the dollar and our great fares; there really is no better time to visit Florida.”

Jeff James, Vice President and Managing Director, Disney Destinations International, UK said:

“The Virgin Atlantic service has played a vital role in the development of Orlando as a destination, assisting us in making the dreams of millions of UK guests each year come true.  We are delighted to be celebrating the past 20 years with them and look forward to welcoming more Brits in years to come.”

Gary Sain, President and CEO of the Orlando Tourism Bureau, said:

“Orlando receives more international visitors from the UK than from any other European country with Virgin Atlantic playing a key role in bringing British holidaymakers to our destination.  The airline will continue as a valued partner for years to come.”

Virgin Atlantic operates two daily flights from Gatwick, one daily flight from Manchester with a second Manchester service operating twice a week on a Friday and Saturday.  The Glasgow summer service will operate from the 20 June until the 19 July.  The services are all operated by Boeing 747-400 aircraft and fitted with the airline’s award winning Upper Class Suite.

Since it was founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic Airways has become Britain’s second largest carrier serving the world’s major cities. Based at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports and Manchester airport, it operates long haul services to thirty destinations worldwide as far apart as Las Vegas and Shanghai.  Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of 38 aircraft, which includes thirteen 747-400s and six A340-300s and nineteen A340-600s.