Category Archives: holiday 2015
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.
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
Wednesday, Harry Potter
Today we got to see do the Harry Potter stuff we should have done on Monday, we were up early though not as early as Simon would have liked, but as our early ticket actually got us in an hour early not an hour and a half, it worked out alright. You had to start off at the Hogsmeade side first, Harry Potter is spread out over the two Universal Parks, you have Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in Universals Islands of Adventure (UIA) and Kings Cross station and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida (USF) We went into Hogwarts which is setup quite very well, they have finger print ID lockers free for the duration of the ride. Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey, Simon (who suffers from motion sickness), spent some time debating with himself about whether or not to go on this ride, unfortunately it turned out that hs shoulders were too big for the harness thingy and he wasn’t allowed on it any way. I did go on it and it was great fun, it is mostly done with video, and shaking you about in the chair. First you go into the castle and you have lots of things to look at, they have the moving paintings on the wall which talk, there is one of Dawn French as the picture that guards the entrance of the gryffindor common room. We get a talk from Dumbledore, also Harry, Ron and Hermione suggest that we don’t hang around for Professor Binns class. Then once we finished the tour, Simon went to wait for me and I joined the ‘singles’ row, because the ride is done in sets of four, if a family of 3 get on they like to have a 1 to make up the four, this is quite handy as it enables the single riders to get through quicker. For some reason it is alway snowing in Hogsmeade. We then caught the train from Hogsmeade station to Kings Cross Well for some reason I don’t appear to have a clear picture of kings cross station but here are some more photos.
The building at the far end is Kings cross the next (red) building is surprisingly Leicester Square tube station.
You get to Diagon Alley through the tube station, once in there you have Weasley’s Wheezes, Gringotts bank and Florean fortescues’s Ice-cream parlour, to name a few.
We had ice-cream which was absolutely gorgeous, I had salted caramel blondie and chocolate chili, and Simon had salted caramel blondie and sticky toffee pudding (I think)
Also no trip to Diagon Alley would be complete without going to Ollivanders for wands.
In Universal you can get interactive wands, after you work out the instructions you find the little brass plates to stand on then wave your wand in the required configuration and the spell happens, you switch lights on, make it rain and put a suit of armour together, amongstt other things.
All in all we had a very enjoyable day
Tuesday, Discovery Cove
Tuesday was another early start, not as early as the aborted Harry Potter morning but still early enough, check in started at 7:15 we arrived about 7:45 had our photo taken and given our tickets. Our slot with the Dolphins was 9:30.
We went and got fitted for our vests, I borrowed a prescription Scuba mask, then we had breakfast.
Luckily our Dolphin swim was quite early, so after a quick safety review we went out in our groups to meet our Dolphins we saw Sindy, Finn and Lester. Sindy and Lester were both very old Dolphins at 50+ and Finn was a youngster at 2.
These Dolphin pictures were all taken later in the day
We got to stroke a dolphin as it swam in front of us, watched it to a few tricks, be photographed with it, then we were towed back to shore and had a dolphin kiss, the trainer gave us lots of information on dolphins and the time went quite quickly, I would highly recommend the experience.
After playing with the dolphins we went for a swim in the shallow pool and attempted to do some snorkling, we both decided that it wasn’t for us.
They had an aviary with loads of very tame birds that would come and sit on your arm if you fed them.
After the aviary we saw otters
During all the walking about we stopped to have lunch, which like breakfast was included in the price of the day.
The day was very tiring there was a lot to see, obviously the highlight was the Dolphin swim.
Monday, Downtown Disney
Yes, you can guess by the title we didn’t get to the Harry Potter experience today, we had early passes, for Harry Potter, which meant, apparently getting up at 5:30, I was up at 5:30, Simon not so much. Simon didn’t feel well, or up to doing an early morning, anyone who knows him, knows that he doesn’t do mornings at the best of time.
We moved Harry to wednesday and had another lazy morning, and decided to go to Downtown Disney instead.
Dennys for breakfast, and then Downtown Disney, which is in the process of being upgraded to Disney Springs (or something similar) it had the added bonus of having free parking, not sure how long that will last after the upgrade.
Downtown Disney is basically a shopping center with a Disney influence.
It appears I didn’t take any photos so this is going to be a pretty short post.
We bought some ‘stuff’ Simon got a shaving kit and I bought some T-Shirts.
Tomorrow Discovery Cove and Swimming with Dolphins..
Sunday, Universal Studios
After doing a lot more walking than anticpated the day before, due to having to walk up to Thunder Mountain twice because of it being closed the first time, we had another quite morning.
In the Afternoon we went to Universal and had a walk around there.
Universal isn’t quite as slick an operation as Disney, which came as a bit of a surprise, you would have thought that being in the same place that they could have taken tips from Disney, they had one carpark ticket taker for two lanes in several places and instead of a first come first served, it was a right lane then left lane scenario, it would have been better to just close one lane.
The directions for the carpark which was a multi storey were also a bit sketchy, there were also no helpful little trams to pick you up and drop you off, but a 5 -15 minute walk from the car to the ticket gate depending on where you parked.
We saw Dr Seuss landing, which unsuprisingly looked just like the books.
We had lunch at Universal, we both had lobster rolls at Lombards Landing, looking across the water I thought that looks like the statue from the Simpsons, and it was.
Then there was the Back to the Future train and car.
Can’t remember what this exibit is called.
Every where you looked there were, larger than life super heroes and Super Villians
There are two parts to Universal, and I’m not sure if I haven’t got them mixed up.
There is a lot to see and I haven’t put any photos of Harry Potter in this post as we are going to do the Harry Potter Experience tomorrow
Saturday, Magic Kingdom
We decided to have a lazy morning before heading out to The Magic Kingdom in the afternoon.
The two rides we had Fast passes for were, Pirates of the Caribbean and Thunder Mountain rail road.
Pirates of the Carribean, was another animatronics ride, before we got on the boat we were warned that we would get wet, we did get slightly damp but nothing as to what I expected.
The other ride was Big Thunder Mountain which was a roller coaster type ride, which was brilliant, we went up there first time to discover it was closed for some reason, the man on the rope line was very helpful, and said it shouldn’t be out for more than about 2 hours and our fast passes would work up until the park closed.
We went off to kill some time by having an ice cream, by the time we had queued up for that and eaten it the ride was open and we hiked all the way back up there.
It was Worth the wait and Simon enjoyed it as well.
Today, (Friday) we decided to go to Epcot in the morning and do some rides in hollywood studios.
The main thing that stands out in Epcot is the topiary
This is just a selection of what they have, it just seems that if it is a disney character they have cut a plant into the shape of it.
They also had a water/fountain feature.
They have an area around the back that has various country setups, London, Paris, and so on.
We then went back to Hollywood Studios to see the Indianna Jones Stunt spectacular, and movie history ride.
Sorry it is a bit blurry, the Stunt Spectacular wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, there were the stunts which were amazing, what we weren’t expcting was all the ‘show’ crap that went with it, I suppose that it does make it more of a show but it did get in way of our enjoyment. As far as I can work out they were pretending that they were at the actual filming of raiders. The stunts the were done were the boulder scene from the beginning, then the kidnapping scene from the bazaar and the one at the areodrome where Indy fights the Large man while Marion is trapped in the plane.
The Great Movie Ride experience was also not what we expected, what it was, was a ride through lots of sound stages with set up of certain famous scenes, such as Gene Kelly swing round a lamp post from Singing in the Rain and the farewell scene from Casablanca. Some of the Animatronics were quite similar to the actual actor and others not so much. I don’t know what Simon was expecting, but I was expecting a more interative experience with video and more of a walk through the history of the movies, instead of just one dodgy movie set after another.
We completed day three with takeaway Pizza.
Disney, Hollywood Studios
Last night we went to the Red Lobster for dinner and I had Lobster tail and half order of snow crab legs which were delicious, Simon had the Ultimate Feast which consisted of Lobster tail, snow crab legs and two types of shrimp. we did have a bit of drama, while cleaning the butter off my hands my wedding ring and engagement ring just popped off and fell on the floor. My Wedding ring I found immediately, my engagement ring not so much, the staff were very helpfull and took the bench seat apart to find it.
Both rings are back on my hand, and if we go back to the Red Lobster my Rings are staying at home.
We started the day with brekfast at Dennys
Disney, Hollywood Studios….
Hollywood Studios was every thing we expected it to be, it was great to walk round, lots of things to see and take photos of.
Mickey, obviously was everywhere, but there were sections for StarWars, The Muppets and Indianna Jones, to mention a few.
At either end of one of the roads was a mock up of San Francisco at one end and New York at the other
Epcot and a few rides tomorrow, (i might even catch up with my days, at the moment I’m one behind.
Disney, The Magic Kingdom
We spent a lot of time in the car today, there were a couple of things that we had to do, we need to go to the Virgin offices ( do they never get tired of wearing red?) and register the Villa.
We then had a late breakfast at Dennys
we decided to do The Magic Kingdom first.
it turns out that one of the problems with my little panasonic camera was that the SD card in it wasn’t fast enough, as you can see it had no problems taking these photos while moving…
Once at the carpark you get on a little tram which takes you to the ticket offices, where I was complimented on my dress, not blogged about yet.
we took the ferry instead of the monorail, over to the actual Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom, at first sight is everything you think it is going to be, it is only after you have walked around for half and hour or so that you realise that something is missing, or rather not living up to my expectations. I suppose that i thought there would be Disney characters around every corner, and there isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing spectacle, the time and effort that has be put into one of the most well known theme parks, probably in the whole world.
One thing I was impressed with apart from Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, was how clean and well organised it was.
Hollywood studios tomorrow….