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View Full Version : A brief history of three weeks


scarletlancer
08-28-2009, 07:56 AM
Hello everyone, it is now five days since I returned from WDW and i feel that the pain has become dull enough for me to write a very brief trip report :goodvibes .

First things first, me, my wife and my five year old daughter had three wonderful weeks at SSR on the free dining plan. I must begin by saying that this was our first time staying at a Disney resort (though far from our first time at WDW) and we absolutely adored it. Indeed, I suspect that all subsequent trips to see the mouse in the immediate future will very likely be based around stays here. We stayed in a one bedroom villa with our original plan being that we would put our little one down in our bed and then move her to the sofa bed when we turned in, however, once we saw the size of the big bed it very quickly became apparent that we would have an extra little body along with us. After a great deal of detailed planning and reading I had requested a room in Congress Park in order to be a reasonable walking distance from DTD but once we checked in the very friendly cast member (whose name I forget) informed us that we were actually in the Carousel. My first reaction, based on reports that I had read, was that we would be far too isolated in this huge resort and that walking to DTD would be out of the question. Well, I am very pleased to say that this reaction was completely wrong. While the resort is large, we regularly walked to and from DTD with a five year old in tow and it never took us more than about 15 minutes to do so. What's more, because the grounds are so beautiful, it was an absolute pleasure to do so. Another gripe that I had read previously was about the frequency of the bus service, and once again I have to say that our experience of it was nothing less than excellent. We did not have a car, so we relied completely on Disney transport for three week and I can honestly say that we never waited more than 10-15 minutes for a bus at any time. For us the proximity of SSR to DTD made it the ideal resort, as we would rather be within a walk of the restaurants and shops on offer there and still have the relaxed atmosphere that was just far away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Probably the only very minor issue that I would have with the resort was that there should either be a data port in both rooms in the villa or that they should switch the in room broadband connection to wifi as my wife and I wanted to take advantage of being able to watch some new US tv shows on hulu while our daughter was in bed and since the only data port was in the bedroom it meant that we had to sit on the floor in there and be quiet so we didn't wake her up. However, as I say this is a fairly minor complaint and certainly not one that would put us off staying at the resort again.

Since this brief report is starting to get a little less brief, and I haven't even ventured out of the villa yet I will add more later if people are interested.

happyj
08-28-2009, 08:01 AM
We own at SSR and also love the resort.Keep up the trip report.:thumbsup2

karentan
08-28-2009, 08:28 AM
yeah keep it going!

Pegasus928
08-28-2009, 08:43 AM
Definately - do a proper trippie with pics and EVERYTHING

Netty
08-28-2009, 11:58 AM
Get typing :thumbsup2

scarletlancer
08-28-2009, 03:07 PM
Thanks for your responses. :thumbsup2

After the long flight over, and DME to the resort it was early evening so on our first night at WDW my wife put our daughter, Annabel to bed and I strolled over to Artists Palette to bring us back some take away flat breads, my wife had the grilled vegetable while I had the buffalo Chicken. Both were nice although I was a little surprised by the Carrots on mine. The rest of the evening was pretty much a veg fest in front of the TV with both of us trying to stay awake until a reasonable hour to try to get in sync with Florida time.

On our first day proper we decided that we would have a relaxed day to let Annabel get used to the heat and the overwhelming scale of everything so we had some breakfast in the room and then strolled over to DTD. We spent much of the morning having a wander around the shops, after a very out of character emergency stop in McDonalds (for some reason both my wife and I were absolutely starving even after having toast etc, I put it down to still be a bit up in the air after the flight because it didn't happen again!). Because of the supplemental breakfast we skipped lunch and headed on over for a game of mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens.

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We played our round of golf in glorious sunshine and then right on cue as we finished the skies opened up for a typical Floridian storm. The rain was on and off intermittently for the rest of the afternoon and early evening which made for three rather bedraggled holiday makers as we made our way via the Boardwalk and the International gateway to the first of our ADRs at Nine Dragons.

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If I am honest I was a little disappointed with Nine Dragons. We had eaten there before and really enjoyed it but while it was certainly OK this time, I wouldn't say that it was anything special. After our meal we took a leisurely stroll back through Epcot, took the SSR bus back and had another quiet evening in preparation for our first proper park visit the next day.


On our second morning we had reservations at the Poly for Ohana breakfast. Unbeknown to Annabel my wife's sisters were meeting us there to join us for the first two weeks of our holiday. We had previously arranged that they would meet us in the restaurant but we didn't realise that the whole party had to be seated together so we checked in with a wonderful cast member who made a real fuss of Annabel and made her feel really special (you will have to get used to the fact that I am rubbish at remembering names so 'wonderful cast member will have to do). Annabel's little eyes lit up when she saw her aunties (who she is really close to) arrive and it was a nice way to really start our holiday. The breakfast was very good and great fun, we all loved the tropical juice that they served and I must have had my glass refilled 7 times. Annabel loved meeting the characters and both she and I joined in with the parade around the restaurant (she was too shy to do it on her own - well that's my story and I am sticking to it.)

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After breakfast we all hopped on to the monorail and headed over to EPCOT for our first day in the parks. We all spent the full day at Epcot (mostly in futureworld) and then took the bus back to SSR. My wife's sisters, who were staying at the Hilton at DTD went of to the cinema at DTD while we decided to eat at the Turf Club. The meal was really nice (I had the Pork Tenderloin, can't remember what my wife had) but it was overshadowed in my memory by the beautiful view of a perfect rainbow over DTD.

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To be continued...

howlongtillsummer?
08-28-2009, 03:09 PM
Keep writing we love it!!!

Welcome back! So glad you had a good time:yay:

disneyholic family
08-28-2009, 03:59 PM
getting on board for the trip report!!
great report and pictures so far!! looking forward to MORE!!!! :goodvibes

suzycute
08-28-2009, 06:21 PM
Great trip report - keep it coming! :thumbsup2
We own at SSR and had a fantastic holiday there last year so always happy to hear other's opinions! :thumbsup2

scarletlancer
08-28-2009, 06:26 PM
Wednesday - Day Four

Today was the big day for Annabel. Her fifth birthday had been exactly one month before on 5th July and her big present from Mummy and Daddy had been the promise of the full Princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidy Boutique. Her appointment was at 9.30am at World of Disney so we once again ate breakfast in the room and then walked over to DTD. Annabel very quickly decided that she wanted the beautiful, white Princess wedding dress that she had seen but unfortunately they seem to have discontinued it as the ones they had in the store (or anywhere else in WDW for that matter) were either too small or too large for her. While she was a tiny bit disappointed she soon decided that she would like to be Ariel in her green ball-gown and her magical makeover began. I must say that while this experience was certainly not cheap, it was worth every penny to see her treated and made to feel like a real princess both during the makeover itself and for the entire day that followed. I truly believe that it will be a memory that she will treasure for a very long time.

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Once her transformation was complete we went to the Photopass studio for her photo session, which made her feel even more special and after that it was off to the Magic Kingdom, after all a Princess must be seen in her realm. The highlight of the morning for Annabel was when she got to meet Ariel who commented that she looked very pretty in her dress.

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Just before 1pm we met up with my wife's sisters and went to Cinderella's Royal Table for lunch. This was another of the magical experiences for us on that day. Annabel adored meeting Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine and Aurora and receiving her wand and wishing star. In addition to the magical atmosphere I have to say that the food was really tasty, I can recommend Major Domo's Pie.

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For the rest of the afternoon we did lots of rides and shows and my wife and I generally spent most of it enjoying seeing our little girl's face light up each time a cast member or another guest commented on how much of a princess she was. Two Japanese tourists even asked us if it was ok for them to pose for pictures with Annabel, which she was more than happy to give her royal ascent to. Once evening arrived, we all made our way to the Tomorrowland Terrace for the Wishes Dessert Party that I had booked as a surprise treat for everyone. The Desserts were delicious and wishes was truly magical, although Annabel was tired by this time her face lit up once again as Tinkerbell flew right over us to light the greatest firework display she will probably ever see. Indeed, perhaps the only downside of going to WDW at the age of five is that a box of standard fireworks in the back garden on Guy Fawkes night is never really going to impress her again. All in all I would certain recommend all of the wonderful experiences that we did on this day.

disneyholic family
08-29-2009, 02:25 AM
the picture links in the most recent update didn't work for me... :sad1:

what a wonderful birthday gift!!!!!! sounds like a glorious day - for a 5 year old or anyone!!!!

Tammy Stringer
08-29-2009, 02:36 AM
Wow what fun your little girl is having

Can't wait to see her pictures at the BBB - hope you can fix the links. Looking forward to reading more

Tammy

jockey
08-29-2009, 03:33 AM
Really enjoying your report, looking forward to more :)

Netty
08-29-2009, 04:30 AM
great report! :thumbsup2

scarletlancer
08-29-2009, 04:46 AM
Hi folks, thanks again for your responses. I'm not sure what is wrong with the picture links as they work for me every so often if I keep refreshing, perhaps it is because they are too large, I will try some smaller ones.

update: they seem to be working for me now.

joolz1910
08-29-2009, 04:58 AM
What a wonderful day for your daughter. It sounds just perfect.:goodvibes

Hodkys
08-29-2009, 12:58 PM
loving the report. I'm reading out your report to DH and kiddies whilst they're eating their tea. Everyone's smiling and linking your experiences to ours. Making us all excited about our trip back in October....keep writing.....:thumbsup2

scarletlancer
08-30-2009, 01:11 PM
Once again thanks for your kind and encouraging responses

Day Five - Thursday

After a very long day in the Magic Kingdom, a huge and rather tiring day for Annabel, we decided that it would be best to have slightly later start on Thursday, so we didn't make a wake up call and all slept in until an unheard of 9am. Once we did get up and get ready we headed on out to Animal Kingdom for a day of communing with nature :goodvibes

We had an enjoyable morning wandering through the various animal trails and riding the Kilimanjaro Safari, even if Annabel was a little disappointed that the Pocahontas and her forest friends show that she had so enjoyed when we came two years ago was no longer showing at Camp Minnie Mickey. By the time that we had done these attractions it was getting close to our ADR time at Yak and Yeti so we strolled towards Asia, taking in one of Animal Kingdom's most overlooked gems, Flights of Wonder along the way. For anybody who has walked past this really engaging show thinking 'how interesting can a bird show be' I would encourage you to go in and watch it, you will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, a little like Nine Dragons, we found Yak and Yeti to be another dining experience (these were really the only two) at WDW that, while by no means bad, just wasn't quite as great as we had hoped it might be. My wife, Sarah, had the Miso Salmon, which she thought was ok while I had the Shaoxing Shrimp and Steak. I really liked the tempura battered shrimp but the skirt steak was just ok. Some people may be wondering why I have not mentioned Annabel's dining experiences in any of these meanderings and I would like to reassure them that we did not starve her for three weeks, but I am afraid that food does feature particularly highly on my daughter's agenda so her couple of bites of cheese pizza were usually augmented by some beans on toast back at the ranch! Anyway back to Yak and Yeti, I would not like to give the impression that we didn't like the restaurant, we did, but the truth is that compared to the extremely high standards set by some of the other places that we ate we just didn't love it. We finished off by sharing the Chocolate Brownie Sundae which was nice but a little bit on the heavy side for us. After our meal we took a slow (there is often no alternative after having eaten a Disney meal the size of a small family car!) stroll around the Pangani Forest exploration trail and then back to Africa to take our place for the parade. I must say that grabbing a Dawa Colada frozen cocktail (think frozen Pina-Colada with added Raspberry goodness) from the Dawa Bar to watch Mickey with is a very civilised way to while away an afternoon.

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After the parade it was clear that the previous day's exertions had taken their toll on all of us, so we called it a day early and hopped on the bus back to SSR, had a quick dip in the quiet pool at the Paddock and then headed back for an early night for Annabel and for Sarah and I to start watching a fantastic new Sci-Fi show called Defying Gravity (apparently it's coming to BBC 2 later this year - so look out for it) on Hulu.

Day six coming soon...

Mrs Doubtfire
08-30-2009, 01:45 PM
Great trip report :thumbsup2

Must be me - but I can't find the photos??

scarletlancer
08-30-2009, 02:01 PM
The pics work for me but it has just occurred to me that perhaps my mobileme gallery doesn't allow linking so I will try to link them from somewhere else

simonches
08-30-2009, 02:03 PM
great report !

scojos
08-30-2009, 02:21 PM
loving the report, especially as we are staying at ssr next year! sorry pictures wont work for me either:confused3
tracy
x

scarletlancer
08-31-2009, 04:41 AM
Pic update: I have moved all the pics to a different host, hopefully they should work for everyone now (would appreciate it someone could let me know if they work for them?)

torsie24
08-31-2009, 05:04 AM
Great report so far!! :goodvibes:

Ji||s
08-31-2009, 06:35 AM
Great report and yes I can see all the lovely photos. :thumbsup2

strawberry blonde
08-31-2009, 06:59 AM
Sounds like you had a great holiday and Annabel looks so cute in her Ariel dress. :)

fairytale
08-31-2009, 09:34 AM
Great Report and Photgraphs :thumbsup2

We too are staying at SSR this coming October for three weeks and have requested the Grandstand Section, good to hear that even though you never got your preferred area that you still loved the resort.

EllieJ
09-01-2009, 08:55 AM
Hi ,

Really enjoying reading your report , it seems to have become our family night ritual now for me to read out to the rest of my family what you have been up to .

Hubby even asked me at lunch fo an upate.

Keep it coming !!!!!!!!!!!:thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

natalielongstaff
09-01-2009, 09:25 AM
photos are great :thumbsup2

heatherbelle
09-01-2009, 01:39 PM
Great report, your DD looks so pretty in her dress.

scarletlancer
09-01-2009, 03:06 PM
Once again, thanks so much for all of your kind words and encouragement.

Day Six - Friday

One of the nicest things about taking a three week trip to WDW for us is that there is never a sense that we have to break our necks trying to fit everything in before we get home. Being able to take our time and do all of the little things that we enjoy, as well as getting on the big rides, is something that has come even more acutely into focus since we have had Annabel. With this in mind we decided on day six to once again take it nice and easy. After a leisurely breakfast in the room we headed on out to Blizzard Beach for our first water park visit of this trip. As a disclaimer I feel that I must inform you that we are not people who do well on sun loungers or by the side of pools, unfortunately we all get itchy feet too quickly and find ourselves wanting to do the next thing. Accordingly, a trip to a water park for this family is not generally an all day sun-fest but rather something of a quick dip followed by another experience somewhere else. True to form, our visit to Blizzard Beach this morning involved a good while at Tike's Peak while Annabel worked her way through her former distrust of all things h2o followed a very pleasant trip around Cross Country Creek (at least twice around - Annabel absolutely adored watching her Daddy get soaked by every freezing cold shower of water around the park, particularly when Ice Gator sneezed on us from inside his house - can an animated Gator pass on the Swine Flu?) and then a nice lunch at Lottawatta Lodge. Despite the fact that by this time my waist line was probably about the size of a circuit around the M25, I indulged myself in a Chilli Dog (you just can't get a decent Chilli Dog in England) and I must report that it was a disgustingly unhealthy slice of heaven in a roll :goodvibes

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None of us are huge thrill seekers, and I know for many people our complete disregard for the various slides and chutes at this fantastic water park is heresy but in our defence Sarah and I have done many of them on pre-parental trips and they were just a bit too overwhelming for Annabel.

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I don't know if it comes from my having family holidays in Great Yarmouth as a kid and playing the rickety old Arnold Palmer (I remain unconvinced that old Arnie was really the proprietor) crazy golf course or if it was the occasion in the Isle of Wight when my competitive uncle disqualified my aunt from a game after she lost her ball off the edge of a cliff, but a holiday is just not a holiday without a game (or three) of crazy golf. Anyway after our lunch we all showered, got dressed and headed across to Winter Summer Land for the second round of mini-golf of our trip. Just as a side note, for someone who has never played proper golf, don't you think that the PGA tour would be much more interesting for everyone in they built giant sand castles and revolving snowflakes on the greens of all of the courses? Now, I must tell you, there is something delightfully surreal about whistling along to Christmas Carols and seeing the detritus of jolly old Saint Nick littered around a snow covered mini-golf course in the middle of August, when the sweat is pouring from your brow in 94 degrees and 100% humidity. However, this is just exactly what we did for the next hour! Obviously we stopped for the obligatory photograph in Santa's sleigh first.

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I must report with some concern that the writer of this report was roundly beaten by his wife (never happened before, honest), who seemed to have somehow managed to transform herself into Tiger Woods for the duration of our game. I can report was rather more cheerfulness that all three of us had a fantastic time playing this truly magical course (the snow course by the way - Annabel made us promise that we would go back and play the sand course later on in the holiday) and that this is one of those minor attractions that make WDW so a wonderful place. If you have never taken the time to have a game in here, do try to the next time you are in WDW, it is really so much fun.

After our game we headed back on the bus to SSR to dump our wet swimming things and then strolled over to the boat dock to take the DVC ferry across to Pleasure Island in time to meet my sister in laws for an early dinner at Raglan Road. As with the mini-golf courses, if you haven't yet visited this faux Irish pub, you really don't know what you have been missing. Before we visited on our last trip, I was a little dubious about how good a fake Irish pub in Florida, with rather familiar sounding menu items would be, but boy does this place give those items a new twist. I had the excellent Shepherd's Pie, while Sarah had the Salmon of Knowledge (which she said was the best meal she had eaten so far) but the cherry on top was really the Bread and Butter Pudding, which was one of the nicest (and most filling - I could have laid on my side and had Sarah roll me home) puddings that I have eaten in a very long time. My sister's in law also enjoyed their fish and chips. After the meal and a mooch around the shops in the Market Place, we strolled slowly (well as quickly as my pudding filled tummy would allow) back to our little palace in the Carousel and prepared ourselves for an early start to be first in the line for Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios the next morning, but that, as they say, is another story...

Becx N Gav
09-01-2009, 03:50 PM
Great Report and Photgraphs :thumbsup2

We too are staying at SSR this coming October for three weeks and have requested the Grandstand Section, good to hear that even though you never got your preferred area that you still loved the resort.

We stayed at the Grandstand last Dec and loved the location.
It's the first pick up and drop off for the buses - except some buses coming from DTD.
There is the quiet pool which is lovely and it's a fairly short walk to the lobby/food areas and boat dock.
It took us around 15 minutes (we walk quiet quickly) to get to DTD Westside - just behind Cirque.

This report is wonderful, love the photos and all the details.

Hope to read more soon :thumbsup2

joolz1910
09-01-2009, 04:16 PM
This report has made me laugh out loud. I love your style - keep it coming.:goodvibes

scarletlancer
09-05-2009, 11:22 AM
Sorry about the extended hiatus but rather inconsiderably my employer has expected me to do some work!

Day Seven

The wake up call was set for 6.30 (Annabel was thrilled that Mickey and Stitch took the time to telephone her in the morning) for this morning we had planned to get to Hollywood Studios in time for the opening dash to Toy Story Midway Mania. Some pop tarts and a variety of strawberry and chocolate milk were summarily dispatched, showers were had at lightning speed and before you can say supercalifragalisticexpealidocious we were pressed and dressed and sitting at the bus stop. Luckily for us the veritable Walt Disney World bus system was as reliable as ever and in no time at all we met up with the sister in laws at the gates of the studios. I resisted the temptation and prompting from certain members of my party to audition for American Idol (I sing in a band) when the cast members came around seeking out the next big thing. Eventually we were granted access to the promised land and made our fast (but orderly) walk along with everybody else to Pixar Place and followed the approved procedure of grabbing a fastpass and then nipping into the standby line. Within moments we had strolled past the impressive Mr Potato Head AA figure and were boarding our game trolleys for a first glimpse of this wonderful new ride experience. For any of you have yet to ride it TSMM is a great fun mixture of the interactivity of the Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear and great 4D effects of things like Muppet Vision and Mickey's Philharmagic. In between our first ride and the return time for our FP we all headed on over to Starring Rolls Bakery for sticky cinnamon goodness and then took in a showing of One Man's Dream. As usual there seems to have been a surfeit of pollen or dust in the theatre, surely that can be the only explanation for the way that I always seem to emerge from this particular show with a certain quantity of moisture around the eyes ;) After our return visit to TSMM and the gathering of another FP for later in the day, we headed over, at Annabel's request, to The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. The show was enjoyed by all, but I must say that I never got quite so wet in a theatre in my life, either they have increased the water effects or somebody accidentally turned on the sprinklers! After this, our party once again split so that my sister in laws could take in some bigger attractions while we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Playhouse Disney Live on Stage. When we did this show two years ago, as much as Annabel enjoyed it, not all of the characters in it were her favourites. This time however, at the age of five, she was intimately familiar with all of them and absolutely loved it. I must confess that apart from the sitting cross legged on the floor part (my legs are not as open to being crossed on the floor as they once were) I thoroughly enjoyed it too. After this, and some photographs with Handy Manny, and a selection of Little Einsteins we headed back towards Hollywood Boulevard for the Block Party Bash Parade.

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I have heard many less than complementary reviews of this parade, and while I can see what they mean in their criticisms, I generally enjoyed it but am not sure I would necessarily hang around to see it again. After the parade it was once again time to meet up with the others and eat the equivalent of the output of a small nation, this time at the 50s Prime Time Cafe. I enjoyed my fried chicken but without doubt the highlight of my meal was my peanut butter and jelly milkshake, which sounds a little bit on the revolting side but was in fact composed almost entirely from small pieces of heaven blended with moonbeams and served with a side order of yummy (In case anyone didn't get it, I really liked it). The rest of my party had the fish sandwich, which they all enjoyed. Our server (Uncle) was not one of the more flamboyant family members at prime time, but he did tell my wife off for not eating her greens, much Annabel's delight. All in all this is such a fun place to eat, by no means the greatest food in WDW, but a not to be missed dining experience because it is something that you just can't find anywhere else. After our meal we spent most of the rest of the afternoon simply wandering around the studios and enjoying all the details and streetmosphere. Annabel really enjoyed (much to our surprise) meeting the Power Rangers, particularly the pink (my daughter is obsessed with the colour pink!) and the yellow ones.

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We manage one more go on TSMM and then headed over to see Beauty and the Beast. This really is a great show and I must say that Daddy felt that this particular version of Belle really lived up to her name from his seat near the front of the theatre :lovestruc After the show we decided to call it a day and strolled wearily but happily to our bus back to SSR.

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Tomorrow was to be a departure for us, we were venturing away from the mouse and over to Sea World, but more of that next time...

joolz1910
09-05-2009, 12:17 PM
Great details. I'm loving the fact that you are such a big softy!;)

Mrs Doubtfire
09-06-2009, 07:26 AM
Looking forward to your Sea World report - we always enjoy a few days there:)

scarletlancer
09-13-2009, 03:06 PM
I must apologise for the amount of time between the last part of this report and this one but I am organising an arts festival with no budget and it is rather dominating my time, but hopefully better late than never.

Day Eight

This was to be a day of adventure, in which this Disney obsessed family ventured out into the untamed wilds of the land known as 'offsite', a land where the road signs did not feature a tri-circular silhouette and where the dining plan was not legal tender. I know, its a big step but somebody had to take it and I was that soldier. We started the day with a walk across to the Hilton to meet the rest of the party for this expedition. Since we were walking there via DTD I decided to drop into The Earl of Sandwich to pick up a Bacon, Egg and Cheese roll (well it would be rude not to wouldn't it) while my wife, who was a little worried that we would be late for taxi we had ordered continued on to the Hilton with Annabel. This meant that DTD was treated to the most unedifying sight of a slightly portlier chap than the one that left England a little more than a week before, legging it across the road whilst tucking into a rather delightful breakfast treat. As far as I am away this caused no lasting injury to poor souls who witnessed it, save for a general puzzlement and an hour or two with a good therapist. Anyway, with the speed of Usain Bolt I made it across to the Hilton and in a flash we were all in our taxi en-route to Sea World. After having paid for pretty much everything Disney before we left the UK having to put my hand in my pocket and fork out the best part of $300 for the three of us to get into Sea World was something of a culture shock but what the hey, we were on holiday. Our first 20 minutes or so in Sea World were spent trying to find a replacement dress for Annabel who managed to spill an entire bottle of apple juice down her front in the queue for tickets (after the obligatory picture with Shamu of course).

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I have to honest and say that while I really enjoyed the Shamu show (who doesn't like seeing Killer Whales jumping out of the water and soaking people) and while the Clyde and Seamore show was cute, my overall feelings about Sea World were ones of disappointment and I generally felt like I was being squeezed for as much money as possible. Now I know that Disney is a multi-billion dollar global corporation and as such it lifts as much money out of its guests pockets as it can get away with but I have NEVER felt that this concern ranked above my guest experience in their parks, but at Sea World I did. There were just too many little extra costs that seemed to be hiding around corners. For instance, when I went there years ago you bought your fish and fed the dolphins, now you buy your fish and then pay a little bit extra for the experience of feeding them. I know that Sea World now has fancy roller coaster rides (as it happens none of us are really coaster junkies) and I can understand that these are necessary to compete in the modern theme park world but frankly I think that is a little bit sad, as the whole point of Sea World when I was a kid was that this was a place where you went to do something a little different. I know there are many people who love the rides there who will totally disagree with me but what can I say, those are my feelings. We actually only stayed there until early afternoon as it was really really hot, we had done all the major shows, and we all felt more or less the same way about the place so we hopped onto the iRide trolley (which is, ironically, one of the best deals in Orlando at $1.25 a ride) and headed down to the Pointe Orlando for a meal. Once we got there we had a little mooch around some of the shops and then headed for Maggiano's restaurant for some Italian chow. As we entered the door of the restaurant it appeared to be a small and rather empty diner and we all looked at each other and thought, maybe we should go elsewhere but then the greeter smiled, ushered us through another doorway and just like with Mr Ben's shopkeeper, as if by Magic a very large and apparently popular restaurant appeared. We were seated in a corner booth that had somebody's name on a brass plaque above it and due to the Godfatheresque decor I had momentary thoughts of said chap turning up and making us an offer to get out of his seat that we would find hard to refuse. I am, however, happy to report that no such shady deal was done. Instead we had a very nice Italian meal and learned a very important lesson. That lesson was that when a menu in Orlando offers half portions of something it usually means that the full portion is roughly the size of a Ford Cortina! Luckily for us we all ordered the half portion (Lasagne for me, some Mushroom concoction for my good lady wife) and that was MORE than enough food to ensure that none of us had room for dessert. The people at the next table went for the full portions of similar dishes and all I can say is that unless they were well versed in eating their own body weight in pasta I don't know how they would have managed to finish them. After our meal we continued with our hobby of mooching for a bit and then called our Taxi for the return trip to Disney territory. Once we arrived back at the Hilton, my sisters in law headed out to the cinema (I believe they saw every film made in the last 20 years while in Orlando) and we took a long stroll up to the Crossroads to stock up on supplies (some of which were of the liquid variety) at Goodings and then took an even longer stroll all the way back, through DTD to our little chateaux in the Carousel section of SSR. I must confess that while I like a walk, this was the only time during our three weeks that my poor old feet began to plead with me for respite. Eventually we got back to our room and flopped down for an evening of doing nothing more strenuous than dipping a Dorito in a bowl of something garlic and herby.

I'm sorry that this report was a little bit on the negative side but I promise that Day nine's EPCOT Odyssey will be all smiles...

sandshal
09-13-2009, 04:27 PM
[QUOTE=scarletlancer;33402039]I don't know if it comes from my having family holidays in Great Yarmouth as a kid and playing the rickety old Arnold Palmer (I remain unconvinced that old Arnie was really the proprietor) crazy golf course or if it was the occasion in the Isle of Wight when my competitive uncle disqualified my aunt from a game after she lost her ball off the edge of a cliff, but a holiday is just not a holiday without a game (or three) of crazy golf. [QUOTE=scarletlancer;33402039]

Lovin your trippie ..... just thought I'd add that the good old Arnold Palmer's still there and a very nice Pirates course on the seafront too!

joolz1910
09-13-2009, 05:18 PM
Mr Ben? That takes me back.:lmao:
Did you happen to meet Mary, Mungo and Midge in a lift?

bigbear
09-13-2009, 05:34 PM
Really enjoying reading your report :goodvibes

binkytell
09-14-2009, 04:02 AM
lovin ya report popcorn::

scarletlancer
09-20-2009, 03:36 AM
Day Nine

After our trip away from the cosy confines of WDW property yesterday, today was to be the full Epcot experience. As had become our custom, we grabbed a bite to eat in the room and then headed out to catch the bus to the park. I know I have already waxed lyrical about the much maligned WDW bus system but I think it would bare saying again that our experiences of it were really really good and that we never waited more than about 10 minutes for one. Once we got to Epcot we headed straight into inoventions and signed up for the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. Since our start time was an hour or so later (and since World Showcase wasn't open yet) we spent the first part of the morning in Futureworld checking out a little of what inoventions had to offer (Annabel loved the piggy bank challenge, which forthwith she insisted was called piggy progress) and then rode what she referred to as Figment Imagination. Now, since I am old enough to have visited Epcot when it was still Epcot Center, I remember the original Journey into Imagination and while this version is fun (and one that Annabel liked a lot) it is really not a patch on what the Dreamfinder revealed to my 16 year old eyes. For that matter, as much as I really like Epcot now, I would love to have been able to show my daughter the old attractions. The incomparable Horizons was, in my humble opinion, the greatest theme park ride ever created (certainly much better than Mission Space) and World of Motion was also a fantastic, immersive experience, ahhh things aint what they used to be! Anyway, nostalgia notwithstanding, we all had a lot of fun in Futureworld 2009 until it was time for us to head on over to Italy to pick up our Kimmunicator, while of course finding time for a little Beauty and the Beast action along the way.

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After all my earlier musings about the merits of the glorious Epcot of my memories, the addition of Kim Possible to Word Showcase is an absolute masterstroke. Once we picked up our Kimmunicator we were directed to Japan for our first mission, and after a false start in which the whole thing crashed (my wife always observes that for a complete gadget hound I seem to somehow be jinxed with anything electronic - I of course know the secret that it is my Electro-Magnetic super powers that disrupts them) we got really into the mission. I will not describe any of the effects or interactions in the Kim Possible missions, as I would not want to spoil them for anyone who has not had the chance to play them yet, but what I will say is that they are incredibly well done and show exactly the kind of attention to detail that makes Disney so special. We enjoyed our first mission so much that we ended up spending quite a while doing the ones in China and the UK alongside our World showcase wanderings, with a promise to Annabel that we would come back and do all the others before our holiday was out. We did of course find time for a little lunch between bouts of saving the world, and this time we opted for the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco which we all really enjoyed. Although saving the world is a very serious business that requires ones full attention there was still enough time in our busy schedules to meet a few friends along the way.

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Having spent a good few hours wandering around World Showcase the time had come for us to head back over to Futureworld to meet up with the rest of our company under the shadow of Spaceship Earth. Much to all of our surprise once we met them Annabel decided that she wanted to ride said geosphere with her aunties so the three of them squeezed into one time machine while Sarah and I hopped into one behind them. As a sensitive little soul who gets a little frightened of the dark, we had fully expected her to decide that this experience was one that she did not want to repeat but beyond all expectation she absolutely loved it and really enjoyed playing the games in the post show area.

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By now it was time to stroll on over to Canada for our early evening ADR at Le Cellier, something that I had been eagerly awaiting after all the rave reviews that I had read about the place. I am pleased to say that those rave reviews proved to be totally accurate and that this was one of the nicest meals that we ate on this holiday. My wife and I shared the Cheddar Cheese Soup for a starter (I liked it more than her, which is odd since I don't really like Cheese and she does :confused3), she had the Salmon with a side order of Mushroom Risotto, which she informs me was to die for, while I had the New York Strip Steak (of the Scopa special for any of you who listen to WDW Today) which was, quite simply one of the most delicious steaks that I have ever tasted. Much as I had planned to finish it all off with a little Whiskey Cake, the steak was just soooo filling that all I could manage was a couple of scoops of the excellent coconut sorbet. However, my sister in law did have the Chocolate Moose, which was apparently very good, while Annabel enjoyed constructing her own sundae.

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After our meal and a viewing of Oh Canada we spent the rest of the evening wandering around World Showcase before heading back for another ride on Spaceship Earth. It had been our intention to head back to the ranch after this, but since time had flown so quickly and, to my shock, a quick glance at the watch confirmed that it was a quarter to nine we headed on back towards World Showcase lagoon just in time to finish the day by viewing Illuminations. We were slightly wary of watching this show as we had tried to do it two years earlier when Annabel was only 3 and had to leave after the first firework because she was so frightened, but despite her jumping out of her seat to roughly the height of the Eiffel Tower when the first big bang came, the 5 year old Annabel enjoyed it a great deal more. After the show, which was as wonderful as ever, we flowed with the crowds out of Epcot, only pausing to enjoy the magical twinkling pavements outside inoventions, boarded the bus and returned tired but happy to SSR.