Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Our Tomorrowland Journey Part 1 - How we got our tickets, the Global Journey experience, and arrival at Dreamville.

So, we've just got back from Tomorrowland 2019. Did we have a good time? Of course we did! This festival is one I don't think anyone who's been can ever forget, but how easy was it to acquire the tickets in the first place? And what happened when the time finally came to head off to Belgium?

In this first post chronicling our Tomorrowland journey I'm going to talk about how we got our tickets, our Global Journey experience, and what it was like arriving at Dreamville, and hopefully this might prove useful to anyone thinking about going to the festival in 2020.

Getting Tickets

Acquiring a ticket for Tomorrowland is notorioulsy hard. Fact. Getting a ticket through either the Pre-sale or the Worldwide ticket sale is a lottery - there are those who have managed to get tickets no problem this way for a number of years where others have been constantly unlucky. But there is an almost guaranteed way to acquire a ticket - and I say almost guaranteed because even this way is becoming a little more difficult as the years go on, apparently. Choosing the Global Journey option is your best bet, though, and this is the route we took. Tickets do take a little longer to sell-out but I'd still say it's best to be ready and online for when the shop opens if you want to stand the best chance of getting the package you really want. Oh, and I should mention that to buy tickets for Tomorrowland you need a Tomorrowland account, which is very easy to set up. Just go to the official Tomorrowland websiteHERE - click create account, and within minutes you're done. This is necessary, because you're also required to pre-register around December time in order for you to be able to try and buy tickets when the sales start in January/February.

Anyway, we went for the Relax Room (2 people) with Full Madness Passes and flights from Birmingham to Brussels. It took about an hour to finally get through to the shop, choose our option and pay, but that was because the site kept crashing. We got there in the end, and I have to say, choosing this option really does lessen the ticket-buying stress, especially as the Global Journey packages go on sale around a week or two before the Pre-sale and Worldwide ticket sales

However, you will pay more, but as far as I was concerned that extra cost was worth it to know that we had our tickets, and that our journey to Tomorrowland would be a lot easier than if we were making our own way there. Which brings me on to the next thing I want to talk about...

The Global Journey Experience

Honestly, it was stress-free from start to finish. We got to the airport, checked in our hold luggage (my husband and me had already checked in online the day before to make sure we got seats together), and once we were through security it was just a short wait before we headed down to the departure gate and straight onto the plane. Our flight wasn't one of the few designated Party Flights Tomorrowland organise, but the majority of the people on the plane were going to the festival, and even though we'd expected it to be a pretty noisy flight we were wrong. It was probably the most relaxed flight we've ever taken. Everyone was excited, yes, and maybe it was the stupidly hot weather but it was just such a calm, chilled journey.

We were given a Tomorrowland newspaper, and a small Global Journey themed drawstring bag that contained some snacks and a can of Iced Tea - which was very welcome - and then settled back for one of the shortest flights I've ever taken, just 50 minutes from Birmingham to Brussels.

Once at Brussels Airport we knew we had to look out for the Global Journey desks, and found them situated right next to baggage reclaim, which is handy. Each desk is labelled with a different country, so you find the desk of the country you've just flown in from, show your ID, and you're then handed an envelope containing some information and your shuttle bracelet. The shuttle bracelet must be worn at all times, so it's clear you're part of Global Journey and therefore entitled to use the shuttle buses provided.

So, once our bags were collected, we then followed the many signs that are around the airport directing us to the shuttle buses outside, honestly, it couldn't be any easier. There are Tomorrowland staff everywhere, it's impossible to get lost. And, thankfully, because of the weather, they were handing out free bottles of water left, right and centre, which was a godsend!

The first (non-air-conditioned) bus we boarded took us to a site just a 5 minute drive away where we were all then transferred onto an air conditioned coach for the half hour(ish) journey to Dreamville, but not before we were given Global Journey goodie bags containing a Tomorrowland dice game and a beautiful little travel journal and pen. We were also given more water and, if we wanted, we could also take an apple to eat on the journey to Dreamville. I think the heat had sapped some of my appetite, though, so I just chose to sit back, chill out and watch the world go by.

En-route we passed many houses - and businesses - with Tomorrowland flags hanging outside, there were even people sitting outside (it was one of the hottest days in Belgian history when we arrived!) having mini parties of their own, waving to us as we drove past, you could already feel the atmosphere building! It also proves how much the residents of the aptly-named little town of Boom, where the festival is held, take it to their hearts, getting involved in their own ways. It's just another thing that makes Tomorrowland so different.

Arriving at Dreamville
On arrival at Dreamville, we were dropped off just a short walk away from the entrance, but the heat made that walk feel longer, especially when you're dragging luggage behind you, but once there, we found the Global Journey info desk outside Dreamville, and they directed us toward The Montagoe Area, where we had to go to check in to our accomodation. All of this took about half an hour, but then we finally had the keys to our Relax Room in our hand, and were being directed to what would become our home for the next four nights.

Relax Rooms are, basically, like a shipping container converted into little rooms, with a couple of beds, pillows, duvets, two camping chairs, a table, 2 plug points, windows that open, blinds, a small mirror, and plenty of hanging space for clothes. Two big towels were also provided, which was a nice touch. We'd actually brought our own because we hadn't been sure if towels were provided or not, but the ones in the Relax Rooms were better than ours so we used those!

The showers and toilets were really close, and really clean! I never experienced a dirty toilet at all, and toilet paper, soap and paper towels were constantly being topped up over the course of the day. The only negative, I suppose, is that the regular Relax Rooms showers and toilets (as opposed to the Spectacular Relax Rooms) have no shelter, which was a slight pain when it started to rain, but nothing that would put me off chooing this option again. It's all part of the experience!

Our neighbours were extremely friendly, and there was barely any noise from anyone at night which meant we got sleep! Even on the last night, when we only had a window of opportunity for two and a half hours sleep before we had to get up for an early flight home, there was a party going on in our row with loud music and a good few people, but once the cut-off point of 2 am arrived, the music just stopped! And it was quiet again, so we got our two and a half hours sleep, which I was grateful for. 😊

And the beds, I have to say, were very comfortable. The pillows and duvet were clean and good quality, although the first night we couldn't sleep with the covers on, it was way too hot! The rest of the time, once it had cooled down, the temperature was fine, and you needed the covers back on. Never had a bad night's sleep, though. Way more comfortable than I thought it would be.

Now, for The Montagoe Area itself. This part of Dreamville has had a bit of an overhaul. And it's stunning! Inside it's like a huge, glass atrium, the decorations are so intricate and beautiful, and outside there's now a pool as well as the hot tubs, sunloungers, a bar, plenty of seating... oh, and a DJ booth which lets new talent play sets and keeps the party going all day and most of the night, until 2 am.

Food is also available at The Montagoe, with a good range of dishes and snacks, like big bowls of pasta, burgers and spring rolls (which were very nice!). And a big buffet breakfast is also available every morning, which we bought vouchers for, but you can pay daily if that's what you'd prefer. The selection of food on offer for breakfast is really good, too. There was scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, granola, muffins, yogurts, pastries, fruit juices, bread, cold meats and cheese. And you can eat as much as you like, I know I did!! There's also tea and coffee, which are both free all day and night. And the coffee was SO good! Wasn't so keen on the tea, but then I'm British, and very fussy about my tea! 😁

I also have to say that all the staff we met at The Montagoe were extrememly friendly, helpful and welcoming. Nothing was a bother, and anything you needed they'd try to find/sort out. We couldn't fault them.

And if you want to have your hair or your make-up done then the Angels of Beauty Salon is right next door to the bar/restaurant, but it's advisable to book as soon as you get there. I didn't use them myself, but every time I looked inside it was busy. I think it was about 6 pearls for hair and another 6 pearls for make-up, but the choice of what you can have done is limited, apparently. I saw a lot of up-dos and hair glitter, but everything looked really well done, and everyone who came out of the salon looked good!

It's difficult to believe you're at a festival when you're sitting in The Montagoe. They've done an amazing job of making it feel more like a holiday resort, and the atmosphere in there always felt chilled and relaxed, although it did get really busy in the early hours of the morning as people came back from the festival, stopping off for a drink or a snack and a bit of post-festival partying. Which brings me onto one more thing. The most expensive Montagoe accomodation - the brand new En-Suites and the Cabanas - are directly opposite the bar, restaurant and pool, making them fairly noisy, I would've thought. Although the cut-off point for the music coming from there is 2 am, quite a few people continue to hang around there for a while, apparently, which could keep the noise going a little longer. Some of that noise could also spill out to a few of the nearby Dreamlodges too, maybe, but as far as the Relax Rooms were concerned we were far enough away to hear none of that, which suited us just fine.

Oh, and probably THE most important thing about The Montagoe Area is that it's just a 5/10 minute walk away from the festival entrance, which is a HUGE advantage!

Anyway, I have nothing bad to say at all about The Montagoe. And it was also great peace of mind knowing that our accomodation was lockable (and it was a very strong lock, too, according to my husband), and that we could hand the key in at reception every time we went out. There are a lot of plus points for the Relax Rooms in my opinion. I'd originally wanted a Cabana, but I'm not sure we could've justifed the extra cost for what was, in reality, just a better decorated, more aesthetically pleasing version of a Relax Room - which is, by the way, the cheapest of all The Montagoe accomodation. I wouldn't hesitate to go with the Relax Rooms again. But, when the heat is as hot as it was those first couple of days we were there, they do get extremely hot inside, but from what I can gather all the accomodation does. Not sure you can escape that.

So, getting there by Global Journey was a breeze. But what about going home? Just as stress-free? Pretty much, yes.

If you check-in online for your return flight home - do this the day before you're due to leave - you can take your hold luggage to the Brussels Airlines/Global Journey desk at the main entrance to Dreamville, and they will check your luggage in for you there and then, take it off your hands, and the next time you'll see it will be when you get back to whatever airport you're flying home to. This makes things much easier, not having to haul your hold luggage around, especially if your flight isn't leaving until late. And this is another instance when we encountered friendly, helpful staff who went above and beyond to make sure a problem we had was sorted. When we got to the Global Journey/Brussels Airlines desk, we explained that we'd tried to check in online but it wouldn't let us do it. However, all we had to do was show a staff member the email we'd been sent stating this, and she then checked us in herself, which we were very grateful for. We hadn't been sure that would happen, but they were more than happy to help, and even though it was about half past four in the morning, everyone was still smiling.

Once that was done, and our luggage had been taken away, we were directed to the shuttle buses. These start running at 3 am. And for flights leaving before 9 am (or just after in our case) the shuttle buses running between 3 and 6 am go directly from Dreamville to the airport, which was less than an hour's drive. I was quite tired, so I can't remember exactly how long it took, but it didn't feel like long at all. And for flights leaving after 9 am, the shuttle buses drop you off a little way away from the airport, where you're transferred onto another bus that then takes you on to the airport. What I would advise is to leave in plenty of time. It was early when we left, and we didn't experience many queues or crowds at all, either at Dreamville or the airport, but I've been told that the later you leave the more chance there is that queues will build at the Brussels Airlines/Global Journey desk to check in your luggage, at the shuttle bus stops, and at the airport. Someone who left a lot later than us told us it took them over three hours to get from Dreamville to the airport, whereas we we there in well under two. Although, everyone has to be out of Dreamville by 12 pm on the Monday after the festival, no matter what time your flight/coach/train leaves.

And the flight home was just as chilled and relaxed as the flight there. We were given another Tomorrowland newspaper, and another Global Journey themed drawstring bag containing an energy drink and a tomato and mozarella wrap, which was extremely welcome because I was starving! Leaving so early meant we'd had no time to grab anything to eat so I was very happy to see food! And it was SO good, too! Very big, and very filling, and a really nice touch.

Global Journey/Tomorrowland Goodies

Tomorrowland Gym Bag - FREE with Global Journey!

 As far as the whole Global Journey experience goes, I couldn't fault it. It takes every bit of travel stress away from you, guides you every step of the way, and the flights were just the best flights I've ever experienced. For me, you might pay more but the Global Journey option was worth it, for me. And our luggage got home to Birmingham without any problem at all! 😊

OK. That's the Global Journey experience and accomodation covered. But, if anyone has any questions about Global Journey/The Montagoe/accomodation please just ask away and I'll try and help, if I can.

Anyway, next time, I'm going to talk about the pre-festival party that is The Gathering. And you can check that out right HERE.

Michelle x

1 comment:

  1. The tomorrowland experience that you penned in the blog inspires me to participate in the Tomorrowland Winter with my best friend. I showed this blog to my friend & he is already searching for Tomorrowland 2020 passes. I hope we get our France visas on time to enjoy the amazing event.