Well, here we are, we’ve been home a week after 22 wonderful days Orlando and even though I’m no where near done sorting through photos or typing up trip reports, it’s time to jot down our highs and not so highs from our second trip to Florida.
Please feel free to ask me any questions about our trip – it may be a while before I complete my full trip report, but I’m happy to help…
Here is where we went:
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Epcot – Future World
- Epcot – World Showcase
- Disney Quest
- Typhoon Lagoon
- Universal Studios
- Islands of Adventure
- Discovery Cove (Non Swim)
- Disney Vacation Club Tour
- Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf
- Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf
Here is where we ate:
- Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom, Character Lunch)
- Tusker House (Animal Kingdom, Character Breakfast)
- ‘Ohana (Polynesian Resort, Dinner)
- House of Blues Gospel Brunch (Downtown Disney)
- Chilis (Hwy 27, Dinner)
- Bahama Breeze (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- Biergarten (Epcot, Lunch)
- Banana Beach Cookout (Aquatica, All Day Dining)
- Wildside Bar & Grill (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- Beaches & Cream (Beach Club Resort, Kitchen Sink)
- Backlot Express Restaurant (Hollywood Studios, Lunch)
- Millers Ale House (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- Houlihans (Hwy 192, Breakfast)
- Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co. (City Walk, Dinner)
- Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- Bongos Cuban Café (Downtown Disney, Dinner)
- Red Lobster (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- La Cantina de San Angel (Epcot World Showcase, Lunch)
- Sonny’s Real Pit BBQ (Haines City, Lunch)
- Chef Mickeys (Contemporary Resort, Character Breakfast)
- Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Dinner)
- Bahama Breeze (Hwy 192, Lunch)
- Bamboo Wok (Berry Town Center, Dinner, Take Out)
- Margaretaville (City Walk, Dinner)
- Olive Garden (Hwy 192, Dinner)
- Longhorn Steakhouse (Hwy 192, Dinner)
We shopped at:
- Publix (Berry Town Center)
- Walmart (Hwy 27)
- Super Target (Rolling Oaks)
- Dollar Tree (Rolling Oaks)
- Michaels (Posner Park)
- Florida Mall
And now, on with the highs!
Driving to the Villa! Our booking with BA included car hire of a Chevrolet Impala or similar. I drove an Impala last time. I was overjoyed (as one can be for a car!) to receive a Chevrolet Malibu, which was pretty much exactly the same car. From settling into the drivers seat to adjust my mirrors and find all the controls, to reversing out of the car parking spot and onto the roads to drive to the villa that we stayed in last time around! I loved driving in Orlando the first time out, and just as much, if not more, the second time! I love to drive any way, and am a confident driver so it was a breeze for me, and that familiarity made all journeys a pleasure – even the ones with a little bit of traffic! It’s nothing compared to the roads here in the UK!
Familiarity! It was so lovely to have everything on the drive to the villa and then from the villa to the parks be so familiar to us. It was almost like visiting an old friend! It made the whole holiday a lot more relaxing and enjoyable as we didn’t seem to stress as much about what to do and when. It was even lovelier when we opened the door to the villa and discovered a bottle of champers and a card from the owners. I had recently re-built their website and it was a thank you from them – a lovely surprise and treat!
Character Lunch at Crystal Palace! We threw ourselves right in on the first full day with a visit to Magic Kingdom and lunch with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger & Eeyore at Crystal Palace. After a dire Disney dining experience at Hollywood & Vine in 2011, we cancelled a lot of our ADRs, this was one of them! What a shame as this was great! The characters were fun, and even though it was 2 adults and a teenager, still had time for us. The buffet was good too. The mac ‘n’ cheese, which I will often go for was delish – one of the best this holiday, and the beef from the carvery was moist and flavourful. Sure, it was a noisy restaurant, but I was expecting that on a character dining experience, so it wasn’t the end of the world.
Boma! OMG, the food here was LUSH! I don’t think we picked one bad thing off the buffet! And since it was near my birthday – well, 2 weeks, I had an unbirthday cake presented to me! And for the unbirthday haters – it was a tiny cake and I didn’t wear a birthday badge all day long :p
Meeting with friends – old & new! Having promised my Floridian friends that we would meet again in 2013 at our 2011 lunch ‘date’, we were overjoyed to meet up again. This time we all went to the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues and had a very good time. It was of course bittersweet as the meeting is short and fleeting and won’t happen again for another few years, but it was wonderful to meet old friends.
Similarly, we met up (twice) with new friends. Sam and I met by chance going to a blogging conference back in June – we discovered we were both Dibb members as well as going to Orlando at the same time! We have become good friends and it was great to meet her hubby and kids too! We had dinner one evening at Bahama Breeze and then again for ‘breakfast’ at Beaches & Cream where we had the Kitchen Sink!
Aquatica! We loved this waterpark first time around – especially the Roa Rapids, and loved it just as much this time around. We had to come off the rides a few times due to the weather…but one time, we rushed into the rapids as soon as it was announced we could…it was so much fun to be pulled along without any one else in the water!
Epcot World Showcase! We were rained off from walking around this on our first trip, and it was a priority to see it on our return visit. I loved walking through all the pavilions and taking the time to stop and look around and just enjoy being on holiday. I read somewhere online that there is room for Disney to add 7 more pavilions – would be awesome! We spent the whole day there!
Disney Wi-Fi! Quite sad to put this as a high right? But as someone who loves to share with her friends and family, being able hook up and post a photo online whilst out and about was great. And of course, the ability to check out wait times, etc using the Disney app. For shame Universal for not having wi-fi in this day and age!
Test Track! This has been changed since we went the first time, but it’s just as awesome a ride. We managed to do it twice and so glad we did – just love that feeling as you go from the dark testing areas into the bright light of the outside and speed around the track- brilliant! It was also fun to design your own car.
Splash Mountain! We got rained off of this last time, and again, another priority for us. Having done the DVC tour, we had some free Fastpasses to use, and this ride was one we used them on. Such a great ride – I love a log flume anyway – but this was so much fun and we had a right giggle with each other as we floated through. We even managed to strike a pose on the drop!
Transformers! This ride was AMAZEBALLS! We were lucky to walk pretty much on to it the both times we went to Universal Studios. I would have gone again had it not been a 90 minute wait! I prefer it to Spiderman, (although that is still an amazing ride as well! )
Halloween Decorations! Of course, me being a Halloween freak means I spend all my husbands money on decorations and not clothes and shoes, and I did indeed do a big shop in Michaels! But going to Magic Kingdom and seeing that they had decorated Main Street for Halloween was AMAZING! It’s on our bucket list to visit for Halloween, but, for now, this is as close as I’m going to get!
Discovery Cove! It was a ‘not so high’ last time around, but we gave it another chance, and it turned out to be a lovely, relaxing day. I could have stayed in the Grand Reef all day long!
Wishes! After a busy day of two ADRs (I’d fluffed up my dates!) and a visit to Magic Kingdom in between them, we went back to MK to watch the fireworks (the parade wasn’t on that evening). We stood at the end of Main Street to watch them, and being that far back was brilliant. First time, we were right under the castle and I don’t think were able to appreciate them as much. We didn’t catch Wishes until right near the end of our holiday, so I was rather overcome with emotion whilst watching them!
Dream Along With Mickey! I LOVE this show. I must have dragged my boys to watch it 5 or 6 times this trip! I haven’t stopped humming the songs since we got home! “Anything is possible, wishes do come true! You can reach the stars if you just believe”
Four parks in one day! We couldn’t decide which was our favourite park to visit on our last full day, so we just went to ALL the parks! We got photos outside each one and explained to the photopass photographer what we were doing – they all thought we were bonkers, but we had so much fun doing it. I’ll explain what and how we did things in my trip report.
And now the not so highs…
Brats on the aeroplane… and I don’t mean little kids screaming and shouting, I mean the older kids who seemed rather ungrateful that they were going on a holiday! Knowing how much a holiday like this costs, I would be mortified if my teenager turned and said some of the things that I heard!
The long immigration control wait… we probably waited the same amount of time as before, but this time it seemed to drag on and on and on and on…add to that the pushing in starting before we even got to a theme park, it was good to see the couple who tried to do so get berated for trying to cut in the line! We all have to wait, so sod off!
Feeling ill – again… we all got hit with illness of some sort throughout this holiday – the boy with a cold and feeling sick, hubs with a blocked up ear, and me, well, me with depression. (We suffered illness last time too) It did add some sadness to our first week or so – not all the time, but enough for me to mention it here. When you save up for a[nother] holiday of a lifetime, when things that are out of your control spoil it, it’s horrid. I’d built this holiday up so, so much and felt like it was all unravelling in front of my eyes. Luckily things snapped back and we certainly made up for things in the second part of our trip!
Ignorant/rude tourists… I’ve seen this mentioned a couple of times recently, and I have to add to that. Lots of needless pushing and shoving, standing directly in front of you when you are clearly taking a photo of something, leaving doors to swing back and smack you in the face…don’t remember this the first time around, or maybe that was first-timers rose tinted glasses?
Miserable Cast Members and staff… again, maybe a rose tinted thing on our first trip, but I know I noticed a lot of miserable CMs and staff in various restaurants. When you go to the States and everything is happy clappy, have a nice day, smiley, smiley, when you are greeted with misog faces and no enthusiasm it’s a bit of a downer…
No Wi-fi at the other parks… I love staying connected and it was a mild annoyance not to be able to do so when visiting non-Disney places! A lot of restaurants had wi-fi this time around, so the parks need to come up to speed on this one!
Not losing the weight I had promised myself I would… this for me, personally is my biggest not so high, in fact it was the lowest of the low. I’m not going to bore with details too much, but I so regret not losing weight, in fact, I gained and that made everything that little bit harder – the walking, the heat, the rides…so if you are aiming to lose weight to go to Florida, please, please, do it…you’ll thank yourself. Really you will. I’m back on track 100% as I refuse to go back to Florida in 2015 and not do the rides I so wanted to this year (Forbidden Journey and The Mummy). The only ride we did that I had a problem with was Despicable Me – a very very snug lapbar, that hurt me so much I don’t even remember the ride and cried for about 10 minutes after we got off – out of pain and out of my own pity party. The only bonus I can take from having to take things a little slower was being able to stop and smell the roses as it were and I took so much more in this trip that our first.
But, despite the not so highs and that low, we had an AMAZING 3 weeks in Florida! It’s unlikely we’ll get a chance to do a long holiday like that again, as hubby’s work aren’t too keen on him taking that sort of time off, but we are planning a Disney Cruise in the Med next year for our 5th Wedding Anniversary :wub: , and another trip in 2015 – not sure if it’ll be for summer or Christmas yet. I’d also like to go there for my 40th in 2016 – but that might just be a cheeky week with hubs and me, because by then my son will be nearly 18! (dear self, shut up!)