Category Archives: Florida
This will be the last Florida Post for this year as it covers Thursday and Friday.
Thursday – we had a slight hiccup, after leaving Dennys for the Magic Kingdom we discovered that Simon had forgotton to pick up his painkillers before leaving the Villa, as the first ride was just for me, Simon didn’t fancy riding Space Mountain, he dropped me off at The Magic Kingdom car park and went back to the Villa. It was very odd riding the tram, going through Security and riding the monorail by myself, also I had never bothered to memorise where everything was – I didn’t need to, Simon had it all under control. So I had to pick up a map, I knew the general area just not exactly where it was.
By the time I got over to Space Mountain, I had a text message from Simon saying he was just leaving the Villa, so by the time I had gone through Space Mountain and been on the ride, it wasn’t as bad a Simon thought it would be, for one thing it wasn’t totally in the dark and it didn’t jerk you around like Expedition Everest, Simon was on the Tram going to the ticket and transportation hub. I looked round the gift shop and then started to make my way up to Main Street to meet Simon, but got waylaid at the the Castle, I realised that standing slightly back I could get some very good pictures of it, and as I was playing with my camera the Friendship faire started, and I got some really good photos of that and a small video.
Back to Red Lobster for dinner.
Friday we had an early start, we had our final fast passes started at 11:30 – 12:30 we needed to finish packing, drop our suitcases at early check in which is at Disney Springs get over to Dennys for breakfast then get in to The Magic Kingdom and over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before 12:30. We managed it with 5 minutes to spare, we got lucky at early check in, we arrived with a two family’s in front of us by the time we left there was about ten waiting.
After Big Thunder Mountain railroad we went on Splash Mountain, I think that the water level might have been a bit higher than normal as we got soaked…. there was also some sort of technical glitch as we were coming to the end of the ride the boats stoped and the lights came up, we were waiting a couple of minutes before it started again.
Our final ride of the holiday was Peter Pan’s Flight which for one reason or another we had not gone on this holiday, it was as magical as ever.
We had a Lobster Roll at the Habour house around 3pm and left the park at around 4:30pm getting to the carpark just before 5pm, after changing into our ‘flight’ clothes we drove to the airport handed the car back and got through security with plenty of time to spare.
Tuesday we were supposed to go back to Universal but as Simon was still feeling off, we decided to leave it until Wednesday so we decided to go back to the Premium Outlet Mall and go to Disney Springs for a look around, we did some more shopping mainly gifts from the big Disney shop at Disney Springs
Wednesday we decideded not to take advantage of the early access and had our usual breakfast at Denny’s before going over to Universal.
We rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, because we go in the Single rider line we only waited about 10 mins, we also rode Spider-Man, Transformers, MIB (I worked out how to get a high score:-) apparently you need to be the first person in the car to press the red button when told to do so) I was going to ride The Hulk but by that time I was feeling a bit queasy and after Simon being out for two days I wasn’t going to risk it.
We also rode Kong again, apparently the people loading the ride still hadn’t worked out that there were only 5 seats not 6 on the back two rows, luckily we were on the 3rd row from the back so I got my own seat. I can understand the appeal of the 3D rides what I can’t understand is why the Harry Potter ride works so well without 3D glasses when the Kong ride which is a lot newer feels that it has to have 3D glasses which are very annoying when you need to wear them over your own glasses.
Sunday we started off at Hollywood Studios we thought that we would get gifts and have another walk round
We went to the Nine Dragons for dinner which was very nice, we had a chicken dish and and ice-cream this was done just before going to Frozen Ever after. This is new ride, it used some of the new projection technology, you get taken along in a boat and see Olaf and Anna, you see Elsa and she does Let it Go which sends the boat speeding backwards.
Monday, we went to Animal Kingdom and rode Expedition Everest, which is a rollercoaster, partially in the dark and some going backwards, Simon, after trying to decide whether or not to go on it, went on it. He come off feeling rather sick, and unfortunately it only got worse. So after sitting around for about an hour we decided to go back to the Villa, Simon couldn’t cool down which was also not helping.
Thursday was May 4th so we decided to do all things Star Wars which of course meant Hollywood Studios, since knocking the backlot down there hasn’t been as much to look at, while we wait for Toy Story land and Star Wars land. We did Star Tours and watched a short video on what Star Wars meant to the people now making the films. Listening to these people makes me realise that the Star Wars is now in the hands of people who watched and loved the movies so much that it shaped who they wanted to be and what they wanted to do with their lives.
We met friends from home for dinner which was at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, we were taken to our table by what looked like the oldest waitress in the park. I recommend the restaurant the food was very good and reasonable. After dinner we went to see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular this is fireworks, music and video clips from the films, the video is projected onto the Chinese Theater (great movie ride) and surrounding buildings.
Friday we were back in the Magic Kingdom and watched the parade and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, this is on the stage infront of the Castle, and involves Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy, apparently they have been across the Walt Disney lands looking for new friends, who each come out and do a song, Tiana and Naveen are first then Tangled’s Flynn Rider and Rupunzel, with a couple of their ruffians, and to top it off we have the ‘special guests’ from Arendelle Olaf, Elsa and Anna. Elsa of course does Let It Go.
Then they all come out and reprise the opening song.
Cheese Cake Factory for dinner, which looks nothing like the Cheese Cake Factory on The Big Bang Theory, it looks better and has much more interesting food, Simon had Fried Catfish which he said was delicious and I had Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo which was also delicious. We took Cheesecake to go.
Saturday we had put aside for Shopping we went to the Primium Outlets, Simon went into the Adidas shop looking for shorts, but couldn’t find any he liked, but in the Nike shop he found exactly what he was looking for. We went to the Fossil shop where I limited myself to one handbag 😦 . We also went to the the Northface shop which had 50% off the already discounted prices, Gap and UGG. I’m not sure if they always have a sale on or just when we go over there.
Tuesday was Animal Kingdom we had a quick breakfast at Denny’s so we could get to our first fastpass which was Kilimanjaro Safaris, it was raining again as we got out of the car so straight into ponchos, which are far easier to get into if you start off dry 🙂
By the time we had got from the car to the park it had stopped raining but the humidity had gone right up, ‘just like a real rainforest – probably’ 🙂
The same as last year Animal Kingdom was fantastic we did Kilimanjaro safari again, Kali River Rapids and we also stayed to watch the Rivers of Light which is the new late night show. We saw the Gorillas and Colobus Monkeys.
We had dinner at the park Flametree Bar-b-que place.
We had an early start on the Wednesday we had early access Park Ticket to Universal which meant we could get in at 8am, we didn’t actually get to the the park until 8:30 but it still meant we could get onto the Harry Potter – Forbbiden Journey ride, which Simon adores. We went on it twice in quick succession. Then after travelling on the train to King’s Cross we went to the leaky Cauldron for a rather expensive greasy breakfast.
After breakfast we looked around Diagon Alley then went on the Men in Black ride which was great fun, we also went on the minions ride, shrek 4d, transformers and Spider-Man.
We have had a busy couple of days, we are currently on our third car, the first car passenger side mirror had an accident, so we had to change it, then a couple of miles down the road from picking it up the second car flagged up a problem with the traction control/four wheel drive so the nice Virgin rep lady arranged for us to get another one delivered to the magic kingdom instead of having to go back to the airport.
The nice Virgin rep lady has also arranged fo us to change Villas, instead of being at Highlands Reserve (which always makes me think of expensive whiskey) we are back in Providence where we have stayed the last two years. Which means good water pressure, fast internet and no plastic plants.
Monday after picking up the third car we went to Epcot, the ‘Topary’ is amazing, the Flower and Garden Festival is running again this year and they have moved the characters about since last year. We also had fast passes for spaceship earth and Soarin’, Spaceship Earth is in the big ‘golf ball’ at the entrance to Epcot, to be honest it isn’t something I would want to do again, it smelt funny and I assume it was just concentrating on communication as it starts off with cavemen working as a team and cave paintings, then papyrus and printing presses, it was narrated by Dame Judy Dench who as usual is easy to listen to .
Soarin’ was whole different thing it was a simulator ride, you get strapped onto a bench seat and it lifts you up then projected onto the screen in front of you is the various places around the world, it is very clever, because every time it changes scenes it sends something towards you to make you blink. The two problems with it is, we were in the second row so it is slightly off putting to have row of legs just in your eyeline, and because the screen is curved and we were sitting to one edge everything was curved, I would imagine that if you are in the front row and in the middle the illusion would be perfect.
While we were walking through the World Showcase it started raining, just after we left United Kingdom it started coming down quite hard, Simon had bought out ponchos so we were kept relatively dry.
While we were in the United Kingdom we had a glass of lager, one that I hadn’t heard of Samuel Smith pure brewed organic lager it was very nice, we had a walk round the Twinings Tea shop they had some great teapots and other tea related stuff.
While walking around Epcot we received an Email from the Virgin rep lady to say she had a new Villa for us to look at, so after leaving Epcot we stopped off at the current villa and packed our stuff up, because the new villa was in Providence we were confident that we would approve.
The new Villa is about 10 Villas away from where we were last year, the only problem with it is that it is the floor plan is reversed from the one we had last year which slightly freaks out Simon.
We went to Wendy’s for dinner which is a fast food restaurant.
Hi, as this is the third year running we’ve gone to Florida for our big holiday of the year, you probably won’t get one post per day, phew, you are probably thinking.
The flight was bumpy but uneventful, first time out of the North Terminal at Gatwick and I must say compared to the South Terminal it was looking a little tired and on a lot of different levels and stairs not slopes, what were you thinking, North Terminal Architect?
Getting out of MCO took longer than expected due to refurbishment, it seemed that no sooner had you got to the end of one queue you joined another.
The villa is in Highlands Reserve and to be honest after the two Villas at Providence, it was a bit of a let down, if this had been our first Florida Villa it would have been, this is all right, pity about the slow internet, but Providence has spoilt us. It didn’t help that when we got here they were still cleaning it even though we were later than expected, it looks like it is someone’s home. (Alison you are right – white all the way) it is very off putting to be confronted by other peoples taste in crockery and plastic plants.
Enough about that lets get on to the good stuff.
Magic Kingdom:- not a lot can be said that hasn’t been said before but we had fast passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which might be my favourite, and Spash Mountain close second. We also had Seven Dwarves Minetrain but that was for later.
After Splash Mountain we came back to the Villa for an hour before going to Red Lobster – yum and going back to Magic Kingdom, this year we are determined to do all the late night stuff starting with Wishes, which is the 9pm firework display, 9pm might not sound late but Florida is 5 hours behind the UK so from our point of view it is at 2am.
We had a really early start today, we needed to be out of the Villa by 10 O’Clock, but also Simon had booked a fast pass for Cinderella and Rupunzel between 11 and 12. We needed to drop our bags off at early checkin at Disney Springs, so we actually left the Villa at 9:05.
We drove up to Disney Springs, dropped the bags off with the Virgin rep, Simon was smug because he had weighed all the suitcases and knew they were under the luggage allowance, whereas the people in front of us had to do some juggling between their suitcases. We then spent a little time trying to get out of the car park in the end Simon found a lorry which looked like it knew where it was going.
We arrived in plenty of time to see Cinderella and Rupunzel,
we got accosted by a Lady in waiting walking across the courtyard.
For breakfast we went to Gaston’s and had a warm Cinnamon bun (which wasn’t warm) which was a little dry but quite nice, a fruit cup between us and two cups of coffee which weren’t very nice.
Then to ride Big thunder railroad for the final time 😦 and splash Mountain before going to Columbus Harbour for a Lobster Roll, we had one last walk round before getting in the car and driving to the Airport.
We spent today in the magic kingdom, we bought the last of the gifts, and rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again.
Day 12 was about finishing up our holiday, usually we don’t queue for anything but Tigger and Winnie the Pooh arrived at their photo spot as we walked past, so we decided to wait for them, I’m assuming that because of the thickness of the suits and the heat they were only allowed out for 15 minutes at a time. Half way into the line they went off either to cool off or change for another set of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.
After the success of waiting for Tigger and Winnie the Pooh we decided to try our luck with Jasmine and Aladdin
We had a fast pass for Ariel in her grotto
I didn’t take my camera with us so we only have a couple of photos from my phone
We spent the day a Universal, we had early access passes from our Holiday Supplier (Virgin) which meant we could get in an hour before the Park opened, and Simon had purchased Express Passes for both of us which meant that we could go on all the rides without waiting, these didn’t include the Harry Potter Rides but with did those first before the Queues got too big.
We went on Harry Potter and the forbidden journey which was brilliant, Simon got to go on this year, last year the shoulder strap thing wouldn’t go over his shoulders so he was unable to go on the ride but this year everything was hunky dory.
Then I went on Flight of the Hippogriff which is a rollercoaster, not too scary and you don’t go upside down. Then a quick jaunt on the Hogwarts Express over to King’s cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, where I went on escape from Gringotts. Out of the three rides I would definitely recommend Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey as being the best.
They do have a lot of 3d rides at Universal, Spiderman and Transformers appear to work on exactly the same movement software and the stories have been changed to fit the branding, both make good use of the action and it really makes you feel that you are part of the action.
We saw the mystery Machine parked on the side of the road.
Men in Black was a great fun ride, it makes you feel like you are in the middle of a video game, the back story is that you are in training to become a MIB agent and you have to go and shoot the aliens that have escaped/invaded I only managed to get up to 7000 something the people in front were up to 24000 and 120000 points.
The Simpsons and Minion mayhem are along the same lines as Spiderman and Transformers they might use the same software but they made different use of it.
I rode The Mummy and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on my own as Simon didn’t fancy them, the Mummy was ok but I was left with a ‘just get on with it feeling’ as they setup the story with jerking you about a bit in the dark first but the second part of the ride was very good if not quite long enough.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket was really good as a roller-coaster but I was surprised that it didn’t have over the shoulder safety harness instead of just a lap bar, there were a couple of times where I was slightly concerned I might fall out, I did nearly lose my lanyard with tickets my over my head.