Category Archives: Florida

Day 10

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.


It was a long day but completely worth it we then went up to the Florida Mall and had cheesecake at the cheese cake factory.

Day 7 – 8 – 9

Day 7

Not much to report for day 7 so here are a couple of pictures

We went to the magic kingdom and took some nice photos of the parade, these were taken from the top of Main Street.


Day 8
It was Mothering Sunday over in America on the 8th of May, Simon wanted to check out the changes made to Downtown Disney since we were there last year. They had just started the rebranding to Disney Springs and it looks like they have almost finished.
In hindsight Mothering Sunday probably wasn’t the best day to go to Disney springs, not only was it very hot it was also packed.
The main thing we came away with was, we preferred it last year and the new shops that we went in were hideously expensive.

We also went to Hollywood studios for a meet and greet with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, we also rode the Rock and Roller Coaster, which was very good, though if Simon had read up on it more he probably would not have gone on it.


Day 9
Because tomorrow is going to be a really busy day, we decided to have an easy day so it was shopping at the Premium outlets early, we were out and about by 10 o’clock then Dennys for a pancake breakfast then home for 1 o’clock where we lazed around the pool all afternoon.

Day 6, Shopping and Wishes

Not much to share for day 6, we decided to take it easy, so we went to the Premium Outlet to go shopping and we had a couple of late Fast Passes, so we had the afternoon off and went over to the magic Kingdom to do The Haunted Mansion and Seven Dwarves Mine Train, we also had a very nice Lobster Roll from Columbia Harbour House which was surprisingly good value.


The Haunted Mansion wasn’t quite what either of us expected, Simon thought it was just a walk round thing, and I thought it would be a Ghost Train with things jumping out at you. There were lots of visual effects and some animatronics, but no Jumping out at you.

We also caught a glimpse of the electrical parade

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Simon had read somewhere that if you can’t get fast passes for Wishes one of the best places to see it was from the ticket and transportation hub, this had the added bonus that once it finished you were on the carpark side rather than having to catch the ferry/monorail with all the other people.


 

 

Day 5 Animal Kingdom

We didn’t do Animal Kingdom last year, so we decided we should do it this year.
We did the African safari which was amazing and totally worth the car parking, it was running a little behind but as we had fast passed it we didn’t have long to wait.

The ‘safari’ takes you though a couple of different bits of habitat.


With the driver pointing out various sights and giving little pieces of information, once the safari is finished there are a couple of walks that you can take.

I rather stupidly didn’t make a note of which animal was which but here are a selection on photos taken on the walks 

I think that the picture above is one of the best photos I have taken
After leaving animal kingdom we had a quick trip to Magic Kingdom and then on to Epcot to watch the fireworks 


Day 4, Star Wars day

This is going to be a very photo heavy post….
Today it was absolutely chucking it down, but we were determined to get over to Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Day so there we were in our one use ponchos which although keep you dry do insist on sticking to your legs and/or riding up your skirt.

Hollywood Studios is in the middle of a lot of renewal, which meant that a lot of the stuff we liked walking around last year (streets of America ) and the backlot have been taken out and boarded off so that they can build Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land.

Although the show is supposed to be on every hour for some reason they don’t have a show at 3:30 which of course was the showing we would have been ready to see.

We went to the Star Wars Launch bay attraction which consists of videos where people involved in the Force Awakens talk about what it means to them to be part of the Star Wars experience. 


Then we went out side to see the show

Day 3 Universal Studios

Day three was rather overcast, but luckily not too cold, we went to Universal Stuidios, just to have a quick look round and get some Ice-cream from the Harry Potter shop. We have a ride pass for next Tuesday so we weren’t going to go on any rides.
It doesn’t look like too much has changed from last year, but it was nice to walk around and take some pictures that we missed last year.

The Salted Caramel Ice cream which was so delicious last year in Florean Fortescues, was downright disappointing, they had obviously changed it for a soft sickly sweet version, so we won’t be trying that again. 

We also had a walk round the Marvel part and I don’t remember seeing these before

Still have quite a few days to get through so bye for now….

Epcot day 2

Just a quick post, as I appear to be getting very behind, we went to Epcot on the Monday. 

I’d read and been told that we had missed a whole load of stuff at Epcot last year, and they were correct. We had just walked round the outside of the countries and not investigated into them.

The following pictures are just for Ann….image

We also did quite a few meet and greets, also because the memory maker came as part of our holiday package we made the most of the on site photographers.

   
 
We had fast passes for a Mickey and pals for later in the day and for the Epcot fireworks.

   
   
Simon appears quite taken by Minnie…

Unfortunately once we came out of the Mickey and pals it quickly became apparent that the fireworks were going to be cancelled as it was tipping it down and we were right in the middle of a thunder storm. 

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We got soaked going back to the car but at least it wasn’t cold!

Florida 2016

Back in Florida this year, after enjoying last year so much we couldn’t wait to get back. After the atrocious weather back in the UK, the Florida sunshine is lovely and gives me a chance to wear a lot of my recently made clothes.

We arrived two hours later than expected which rather scuppered Simons plans for Crab legs at the Red Lobster for the first evening, so we settled for a trip to the Publix and a Papa Johns Pizza, which has a delicious barbecue base that we can’t get from Papa Johns in the UK.

Our first full day (Sunday 1st May) was taken up in the morning with the mundane, registering with the Villa people and talking to the Virgin rep about changing our hire car. After a quick trip back to the Airport to change the car, never hire a Jeep, Simon is very happy now with a Toyota we rushed over to The Magic Kingdom, our first Fast Pass ran out at 13:30 we made it with minutes to spare.


With Big Thunder Mountain out of the way, we could now relax, have a little walk round and enjoy the sunshine, before heading back over to Splash Mountain.

We had lunch at Casey’s Corner, which was packed and where we made a rookie mistake and ordered the larger meal instead of the normal meal, needless to say neither of us managed to finish our meal, the chips (fries) were delicious.

After Splash mountain, which was a great at last year, but appeared to be a good deal wetter, I spent the next hour with a very damp bum 🙂

We also did Peter Pan’s Flight which was quite magical, and I think that we will have to ride it again as there were a couple of bits we didn’t see properly, it was a bit daunting getting on to the ride as the cars don’t stop, so you have to juggle with the moving walk way and the moving car and my total lack of coordination.

Peter Pan’s Flight the cars are suspended from the top, one of the cast members sprinkles pixie dust on the safety Bar which then lowered its self. Then it takes you on a flight across London and then on to Neverland, where you can see the Mermaids and the Indian camp, Pan fighting Captain Hook and Hook fighting with the Crocodile, my words aren’t really doing it justice.

Sunday, Kennedy

This post has been a while coming, we hadn’t been planning to go to Kennedy, when we booked the Holiday at the end of last year, Simon asked about tickets for Kennedy, but we decided that we wouldn’t have time. To be honest if we had done more of the rides, we probably wouldn’t have had enough time, but we didn’t so Simon got his wish.

It was the last Sunday of the Holiday, we took the hour 20 minute drive, along a very straight road, waited while the bridge opened and closed for a couple of small masted boats, and there it was.

  
I want to make this clear, Kennedy would not have been my first choice or even my second choice for a day out, from my point of view once you have seen one rocket that went into space, you don’t need to see any more. 🙂

I thought the ‘grounds’ looked quite run down, the staff seemed happier than the staff at SeaWorld (always a bonus)and it wasn’t as clean as Disney and Universal.

From Simon’s point of view, he was happy in the knowledge that because I wasn’t that interested I would spend the whole trip taking photos, and he could concentrate on taking in the whole experience.

I will admit that when you see these things on the TV it doesn’t convey the size and scope of them, we saw the Gemini capsule and you wonder how one man could sit in it let alone two, on the other side of the scale, you go into the Atlantis exhibit underneath a replica Space Shuttle Stack.

   
 We started off by going into the Early Space Exploration exhibition, which goes right from Dr. Robert Goddard’s Liquid Fuel Rocket to Saturn V. There was also, oddly the Robot from Lost in Space.

   
 After Early Space we went to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis (which was huge. Before we actually got to see Atlantis you go through watching a simulated shuttle launch, then they take you through to another room where you have stars all around and bring up a solid screen so that you see Atlantic through a screen of stars (which is very effective)

  
After Atlantis you can get on a bus which will take you around the launch pads and passed the Vehicle Assemble Building, 

  
which is the largest single storey building in the world each of the stars on the side are 6 ft wide, then over to the 

  
Apollo Saturn V center where you get to see Launch Control and you sit through a launch of one of the Apollo rockets, and you get to see a video of Jim Lovell talking about his flight (not Apollo 13) after that you go through into a very large hanger that houses the Saturn V rocket, which is split up into it’s pieces.
   
  

     I appear to have missed the board for Apollo 15

 

Over all it was a good day out, the quality of the merchandise seemed a bit iffy compared to Disney and Universal which was disappointing as I don’t believe the t-shirts and such like were a lot cheaper and apparently they weren’t the right shade of NASA blue.

If you are into this sort of stuff it is unmissable and even if you like a bit of history go and see it.

Friday, SeaWorld


Today was SeaWorld I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, obviously fish and Dolphins but there were also Whales, turtles and Sea lions.


The initial impression of SeaWorld is it isn’t nearly as clean as Disney and Universal, and it looks like it needs a bit of TLC.

There are a few aquariums in the park, the first one was very god, the second one we saw which appeared to be attached to a gift shop, smelled disgusting, and had a tank in a Glass floor, there was a separate tank with jelly fish  which I assume had a light that changed colour.


We went to see the Dolphin Show, which was alright but left a faint umm I’m not sure about this, It was weird, bearing in mind at the beginning of the week we had spent time in a small cove playing with Dolphins, that hadn’t bothered me, but this 8 or 9 Dolphins all going through tricks together left me with a feeling of distaste, it could of course just been that I hadn’t taken to SeaWorld at all, of the fact that the Discovery Cove Dolphins were in a more natural setting.

  
 we didn’t go to the Shamu show as there were only two showing available to us 14:00 and 18:00 and we didn’t want to hang around until 18:00. We did however see some whales swimming around in a group which was amazing.


The highlight of the day came just as we were leaving, we came across the nursery pool, which had a few young Dolphins who were ‘playing’ with the spectators, one of them though it good fun to swim up to the pool wall and pop its head up and making us jump.

  
 An experience that I’m glad we did but I don’t think we would go back