View Full Version : Vern+Jana's Trip report PART 1

05-03-2002, 09:31 AM
After an uneventful trip from London to Pittsburgh I collected Jana and her son Gus and we made our way to the gate for our flight to Orlando. Very good customer care from USairways as they managed to seat us all together ( which we weren't ticketed for) and also in London they got me an aisle seat which helped my dodgy knee a lot. Flight from London was only about 60% occupied so plenty to find a seat with no one next to me :). . I did get slightly admonished for having to stop before finding Jana to get something to eat as I was strarving and I wasn't sure if we'd get time before our flight. But we were both told off by Gus for an excessively enthusiastic greeting :D . Made our way to the house ok and got settled in for the night.

Day 1) Tues 22nd April (food prices are inc tips)
We had some admin/future plans to sort out on this tri[p and our first morning was spent looking at hair salons, as if/when we go to live permanantly in Fl we'd like to buy a salon for Jana to manage. The salons we looked at weren't in the area we want, but as this was only very early exporing that didn't really matter. Getting a feel of value was the idea , so it was a worthwhile morning. As we finished fairly early we decided to scoot along to SW and activate our tickets ( bought on the web on http://www.seaworld.com . bargain at $95 for combo SW and Busch Grds for the rest of 2002 :):) ) Went into SW for the rest of the day. went to Wild Arctic, the hospitality area, the playground, the hospitality area, Cirque de la Mer show ( I will do a seperate note on the TP board about this show but pretty good and an ideal opportunity for those not sure about paying out for Cirque du Soleil to find out if they like that type of show) , the sealion and otter show , pacific point preserve ( sealion area) and Gus hit the kids play area for half an hour. All this took about 4-5 hours . It was pretty hot ( 88 ) and that was enough for us.Small bone of contention the price for fish to feed the seals,dolphins,stingrays is now $4 per dish, IMHO this is now looking a bit pricey and while I'll still pay for one dish for the kids to feed if they want, I won't get more. SW used to get at least $15 a day from me and now they'll get $8 maximum, their loss IMHO. For dinner that evening we went to Key W Kool's on the 192 ( opposit Splendid China roughly) We both had an appetiser followed by steak and lobster combo's Gus had Macncheese I think. The bill was $110 for the three of us ( a couple of beers each) but the steaks were absolutely superb ( I had a ribeye and Jana had a New York strip) in general main courses were starting at $15. We both really enjoyed the steaks here and Jana had to "doggy bag" the remainder of hers which went very nicely on bagels and cream cheese for brekkie over the next couple of days :) . For the quality involved I thoought it was a good price for the meal.

Day 2) Wednesday 24
Up fairly early and scrried off to Busch Gardens. Took about 90 minutes to get there, not helped by indifferent directions/signposts along the road and the fact they now have you come in from an exit later than I have previously done. Got parked and I thought "oh dear this is going to be VERY BUSY as we were out in carpark E and needed to take a tram into the park. But this was a false fear as they have expanded their disabled parking area ( right next to the park) and carpark A ( also walking distance from the entrance) is now "preferred parking" this means you pay an extra $3 to be within walking distance of the park as opposed to $7 to be the other side of the street and take the tram (2 minute wait). The park was pretty quiet, first up went to watch the iceshow, considering the small size of the "rink" I thought the CMs did really well. This was a well put together show and definately worth a visit ( particularly in the very hot weather) ,took a walk through the Egypt area , no chance of getting Jana on Montu and Gus is too small ( and NO CHANCE IN HELL of getting him on a coaster anyway) next took a walk through the Gorilla and Chimp enclosures ( nice exibits). We grabbed lunch at the counter service in the Crown Colony building. IMHO SW and Busch's counter offerings are far better than Disney's both in variety and quality ( price about the same) $25 for the 3 of us, Pizza for Gus, club sandwich and a pizza to share for Jana and I plus drinks .Then DRAGGED Gus onto the skyway ( cable car) ride over the Savannah ( a small boy (GUS) was yelping " I'm scared of hights I won't like it" etc etc. anyway at the end he was begging to go back on as he really enjoyed it :rolleyes: and we had to make 2 more trips on this as I think it was one of his favourite things to do. Next went to the hospitality area and picked up a sample of Anhauser Busch's fine produce ;) and consumed this while Gus went into BG's play area. I think he's spend the whole holiday in these playareas and never go on a ride if given the choice LOL. I did manage to get Jana onto Gwazi, telling her this is similar to the runaway train at WDW, as it doesn't turn you upside dowm. This was my first go on this as well and as you can't see anything from outside I had no idea what to expect. There was no queue for this and as we approached the train Jana said "oh good the back seats are empty" , now I thought she knew that was the best seats on a coaster ( i.e. the most exciting usually) she thought this was where you get the easiest ride. Anyway, Gwazi goes into my top 10 coasters as it is an A1 ride and despite no invertions there are PLENTY of thrills. I did get a serious beating when we got off the ride ( once Jana got her breath back LOL) Walked through to the Rhino rally and as there was only 5 minutes wait we went on ( were tight on time to get to eat in the sit down at Crown Colony) , sadly the water part of this ride wasn't working ( apparantly problems all week :( ) but the bit we did go on was pretty good, similar to the offering at AK. N.B. there is also the chance to go out onto the "Serangetti area" at a cost and the people who I saw do this got a VERY close look at one of the Giraffe and her baby, you could say eyeball to eyeball as both mother and baby had their heads right in the back of the truck and the people didn't even need to put their arms out to stroke them.This seems to be very popular and needs to be booked early in the day. There were three different "experiences" and the cost varied depending on the amount of time you were involved. Last thing of the day was a visit to the Crown Colony restaurant, Jana had seen a special on TV about the restaurant and was very keen to try a seafood dish they do. They close the doors here at 5.00 ( well at this time of year they do) but once your inside even if the place is full, you will get seated and fed. Gus had a hotdog and we both went for the seafood in a cheese sauce with piped mash potatoe and roasted veggie We also had some nachos to start. Nice food, great view over the "Africa area" and at $62 for us ( couple of beers each) I thought very good value and one I would definately repeat in the future. .Drive back felt a bit long , but I did have a minor detour when I got caught in the "slow lane" at a "right lane must turn right exit and as I had one truck "right up my 4r$" and anothere steaming up the middle lane I was forced to get off I4 and somewhat typically this was an "exit only junction" had to go back down I4 in the wrong direction, take the next exit ( WHICH BLOODY WOULDN'T LET ME GET BACK ON I4 ) and take a 5 mile detour to do a U turn !!!! that was the last time I languished in the slow lane other than getting on or off the motorway LOL.

Day 3)
Was planned for BB but rain was forcast so we did grocery shopping, went to Florida Mall, Jana went round DTD while I went to BW to get info on the new Beach Club part of DVC, that night Jana treated me to dinner at Boma's we had a nice walk round the hotel and the animal views. Dinner was very good ( although IMHO the entrees were not quite as many as previous visit) The soups were FANTASTIC, chicken and corn chowder, seafood bisque, and a pepper chicken. Next a load of salady starters then I had a slab of rib of beef , some flank steak in a sauce mashed yams :) and some token veggies. I wasn't going to have a desert, but as they are lots of bite sized little things I decided to have just one ( took 3 :) ) and then went back , because Jana wanted a sugar cookie HONEST!!!, and got another chocolate mousse . Not sure of the cost as Jana didn't show me the bill ( thank you honey by the way :) I really enjoy this place :D) . We rolled home for an early night..

05-03-2002, 09:44 AM
Excellent report on the first couple of days. I love Busch Gardens and can't wait to go again. Was Bomas really good or just good as DH fancies it and I'm not so sure as posh food is wasted on me who like simple things?

Great start can't wait for more.

05-03-2002, 09:57 AM
I would say if I marked it out of 100 it would get 92 now where my previous couple of visits it would get 94/95. It might just be that on the particular night I went, some the options they had weren't to my liking but there was plenty I did like , or maybe they have cut back by one entree ( 5/6 instead of 6/7) but the choices were still very good. It isn't really what I would call "posh food" but it is good quality done well. There are some more adventurous choices taking more African/Arabic influences for those that don't mind trying something new, but I think the roast rib of beef is a pretty standard feature at this restaurant( and hard to do badly as long as the meat is good quality ). They also had a salmon option this time. as well as rotisserie chicken, and "flank steak" in a spicy sauce. Some of the starters have a more Arabic/African slant ( humus and cous cous) but I like Arabic food anyway and there is plenty for those that don't want to try the more exotic stuff.

Fantasia Sam
05-03-2002, 10:28 AM
Hey Vernon - how did the knee hold up on Gwazi??? It's a rickety little sucker isn't it?!

05-03-2002, 10:55 AM
It was jammed into place under the lapbar so it couldn't move LOL. I had more trouble with the Tram at Busch gardens to and from the carpark LOL

05-04-2002, 02:17 AM
Great start Vernon.

I agree with yer about the food in Busch and SW- much nicer and more varied than Disney.

I didn't realise they'd changed the exit to Busch. No wonder V took the wrong turnin!

05-04-2002, 05:14 PM
Tend to agree with you on the price of the feeding fish at Sea World Vernon.

Isn't Boma's a lovely place to eat - and even better when it's Jana's treat! :)


05-05-2002, 11:44 AM
Vernon forgot to mention the scare I had when we arrived in Orlando. He luckily missed it so it's not as memerable to him.
We got to baggage. Vernon's luggage comes he gets it. Gus and mine still hasn't come. Vernon goes to take care of the car and Gus and I wait for ours. Everyone from our flight is pretty much gone and no more luggage coming :eek: . I'm starting to get worried. My clothes, makeup, and MY SHOES!!!!!!!!! Where are they???????? Luckily I hear a gentleman say to someone that they found their luggage in a room across the way so Gus and I go check for ours. YEEEEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's there. Not sure how it got there but VERY happy to get it. Then go meet Vernon and all is good.:D

05-05-2002, 06:34 PM
....... tell us more about Gwazi please Vernon...... or maybe I should ask Jana :D
I'm really looking forward to Bomas now - I've never known so many people rave about soups before!
Glad to hear you got your cases okay Jana - that's a really horrible feeling when you just about give up hope of your cases appearing........ we've experienced that too :rolleyes: ...... and then of course all that emergency shopping you'd have to have done ;)

05-06-2002, 08:14 AM
Oh that soup at Bomas ummmmmmmmm. I can't remember much else of my meal to be honest. I was too full of soup!!!!!! Carolyn

05-06-2002, 11:26 AM
Gwazi is old fashioned wooden roller coaster, in the style of what you see in movies of Coney Island. The ride is similar to Big Thunder Mountain, but it takes it up a notch or two, the drops are steeper, turns sharper and you seem to be going MUCH faster ( maybe that was being in the back seats). For those ready to take "the next step" from BTM etc this would be a good stop, it's as thrilling as some of the invertion coasters , but without that "going upside down fear" that some people have.

Really good ride IMHO

05-07-2002, 11:26 AM
Thanks for clearing that up Vernon, when Fantasia Sam made reference to It's a rickety little sucker isn't it?! .................I wasn't sure whether that was Gwazi or your knee!

05-07-2002, 05:12 PM
That is most definately the knee LOL

Fantasia Sam
05-12-2002, 12:55 PM
Very funny guys :p :p

05-15-2002, 04:35 AM
Just catching up on the trip reports....good start Vernon...off to part 2 now!