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natebenma
07-17-2011, 11:23 AM
Who? Dee, Mark, Nate (13), Ben (10)

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5878.jpg

If you want to know more about us, I have a detailed introduction in the TR I wrote last year. Here’s the link.

3rd Annual We are "NEVER" going to Disney in the summer again :cool2: TR, http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2524240
July 10-17, 2010 Beach Club; July 11-18, 2009 Beach Club;August 2008 All Star Music Fayecation

Otherwise, we will just get acquainted as we travel together.


What? Summer Vacation to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Magic Kingdom and Sea World


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6512.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6506.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5079.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5406.jpg


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6019.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6061.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6264.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5541.jpg




Where: Portofino Bay Resort at Universal

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4828.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5471.jpg


When: Monday July 11- Friday July 15, 2011

Here’s the July page from our home calendar

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4614.jpg


Why???

For the past 3 years, we have taken a vacation to Disney World during the summer. We didn’t mean to go every year. Really! But our trip in 2008 was impacted by Tropical Storm Faye and also by a stomach issue (maybe dehydration) for Nate. In 2009, we had a “do over”, staying at the Beach Club courtesy of Disney’s 4/3 deal. When we received a PIN discount in January 2010, we booked another trip back to the Beach Club for last July.

But after 3 trips 3 years in a row to Disney, Mark and I decided we would take a break. We were also afraid to push our luck. We had such amazing trips in 2009 and 2010, great weather, manageable crowds so we feared it could be difficult to live up to these great memories. Plus Nate goes to Disney in May 2012 with his 8th grade class. We are in negotiations about whether I will accompany him as chaperone. He mostly doesn't want me there, but then he remembers that Mom “pones” (kicks butt) and thinks it might not be a bad idea to bring me along. I am thinking of being a quasi-chaperone- I will stay at the Beach Club, instead of the AllStars with the students and meet the kids at the parks when they go.

We decided after last year’s trip that we were going to skip Disney this year. We were ok with this decision. I swear! We planned a 5 day/4 night trip to “The Other Orlando”- Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Sea World.

I am a huge Harry Potter fan! Nate was really into HP. We had two fabulous HP themed BD parties for him. I wanted to get him to the Wizarding World of HP before we totally lose him to teenhood. It is happening much faster than I ever believed possible! My younger son is just starting to get into the books and is really enjoying them.

But once this trip was booked (my family called it "Mom's trip") all everyone talked about is how much they want to go to Disney. And I tell them "We weren't going to go to Disney" and they answer "But we're going to ORLANDO now", so that means Disney.

And my husband was the worst one of the bunch!!!

So Mark and I decided to surprise the boys with a day at the Magic Kingdom.

Go back up and check the sticker on Wednesday. Is that Hogwarts or Cinderella’s Castle?

Did we pull off the surprise? You’ll have to stay tuned to see!

Pretrip Prelims:
We purchased all of our theme park tickets in advance.
We were going to purchase 4 day park-to-park tickets ("hoppers") from Undercover Tourist: $146.95 per adult. The 4 day ticket is just $4 more than the 2 day, so it is worth it to us to get the flexibility. I checked with our local AAA, and the same ticket was $145 pp, so I purchased these. I used my Disney Visa to purchase Universal tickets. Is that wrong???

SeaWorld is currently running a promotion on their website- Adults pay kids prices ($71.99), for a single day, but the tickets are valid for the buy one day, get the next day free offer, so it is really a two day ticket. So we ordered these through the website the Saturday night before our trip. I made the mistake that night of Googling “Sea World Discounts”, and someone mentioned that AAA had 2 day tickets, $70 per person and it included a lunch voucher!!! But since AAA was closed the next day and we had a 6 am flight on Monday, I didn’t have a chance to see if my local AAA office has these tickets. I will check this week and edit in the answer.

[ETA: just called our local branch of AAA: they are selling tickets for $80 per person- so I am happy with the deal I got!]

Once Mark and I decided we were going to the Magic Kingdom, I started charging up my Disney Visa like crazy! We pay off our balance each month, so we don’t incur interest penalties. In the spring, we received a 5x points bonus offer for purchases at grocery stores and gas stations. SWEET!!! By the time we left for the trip, we had $165 to apply to the purchase of admission tickets. Every little bit helps!

I think that covers the pre-trip details. Bags are packed and the alarm is going off at 4 am for a 4:45 car service pickup to the airport. Get some sleep!

Oh, yeah, one more thing- you will discover that we tour the parks pretty aggressively, so lace up your sneakers and Let’s Go!

Next up: Arrival Day- Ciao Baby!

natebenma
07-17-2011, 11:23 AM
Here's a preview of chapters.

It is going to take us a little while to get to Hogwarts...


Introduction


Day 1: Arrival, Portofino, Universal Studios

Arrival - Ciao, Baby! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41887348&postcount=42


All about the Portofino http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41890845&postcount=50

Sal's Marketplace and Deli- this photo post does not appear in this trip report, but here is the link: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41925749&postcount=28

Chillin' at the Pool- http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42468186&postcount=439


The Adventure Begins (at Universal Studios, not WWoHP) http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41898564&postcount=65

3-D 4-D OD D'OH!
We Dine with the Fishes and Headed for Disaster- I want my Mummy! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41912033&postcount=77



*Contest * Entrance Exam for Hogwarts. Can you pass this O.W.L. ??? (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41925702&postcount=98)

Answer Key to O.W.L. (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41925703&postcount=99)



Day 2: Islands of Adventure/Sea World/City Walk

Finally, Hogwarts! The Early Bird Catches the Snitch
http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41939790&postcount=128
http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41939813&postcount=129


When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and You're Gonna Get Wet, eh? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41963127&postcount=154

You're Gonna Get Wetter, "A-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah!" (Popeye's laugh) and Olive, My Love (apologies to Led Zeppelin):
http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41963306&postcount=155

Stuck at Platform 9 3/4 (where I am the victim of a time-turner) and I get some much needed magic! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41992676&postcount=173

I give that meal 3 Broomsticks http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41992712&postcount=174

Rude Rude Fountain http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41992830&postcount=176

Oh, the Places we Didn't Go! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42014296&postcount=192)

Marvel Superhero Island, some shopping, relaxing at the resort http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42041065&postcount=216

************************************************** *********************

A Whale of a Tail, Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42064019&postcount=234)
A Whale of a Tail, Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42064030&postcount=235)

Dinner Panda-monium http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42094018&postcount=266


Day 3: Open to the Close (almost): What can my family do in 12 1/2 hours at the Magic Kingdom?


Surprise! Hey, Who put a big honkin' castle in the middle of Sea World? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42124535&postcount=291

Morning at MK http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42149869&postcount=302

Columbia Harbor House http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42176513&postcount=320
I got a pocket, got a pocket full of FP

Awesome Afternoon at MK http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42204543&postcount=335

The Monorail is TOO a ride ( Disney Domination DNA) http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42230629&postcount=351

Dinner at Kona Cafe http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42263989&postcount=371

Disney after Dark: Psst! Anyone wanna buy a locker??? http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42336718&postcount=393

Day 4: Sea World- "The Sea-quel" Islands of Adventure/Universal Studios/Chasing Harry to IoA (again)

Praying Manta doesn't Bring up Breakfast and We Found Atlantis! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42406788&postcount=422
The rest of our day at Sea World http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42428832&postcount=426
The rest of our day at Sea World, continued: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42428838&postcount=427

************************************************** ***************
Playing at the Portofino pool http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42468186&postcount=439

************************************************** ***************

Back to Islands of Adventure:

Hulk, Picture Spot and Rip Saw Falls http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42514455&postcount=455

When Dinosaurs FINALLY Ruled the Earth http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42555705&postcount=474

Is there a Gringotts branch around here? The boys want MORE butterbeer! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42622276&postcount=510

A meal of Mythocal (pro) portions/ Tempura Shrimp Sushi Throwdown! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42675324&postcount=524

************************************************** ****************

Back to the Studios: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42724512&postcount=549

************************************************** ***************

Back to IoA: Chasing Harry and Major Muggle Mistake! http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42752723&postcount=563


Day 5: Last Day-Islands of Aventure/Universal Studios/The Long Way Home

IoA:

Olivander's Waiting Experience http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42778861&postcount=577
More Wizarding World of Harry Potter: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42778886&postcount=578

A few last things at Islands of Adventure http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42819816&postcount=606
Portofino for breakfast and checkout

Horror at the Studios (or not) http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42853634&postcount=618

A Not-So-Magical Express to the Airport http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42873808&postcount=629
(Lunch at Sal's Deli and Marketplace)

I wish we could use Floo Powder to Get Home http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42941954&postcount=653


Top 10 Universal Tips (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=42975998&postcount=672)


************************************************** ****************


Anniversary Getaway- Puerto Rico, March 4/5 to March 8:
pages 47-55

25 years (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44297629&postcount=700)

Why Puerto Rico? Why Midnight? ( http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44309104&postcount=709)

To Sleep or Not to Sleep, THAT'S our tranport and Check Out the Check in Annoyance (and rapture) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44318158&postcount=712)

Room 5302 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44318255&postcount=713)

Let's Take a Walk (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44329478&postcount=722)

Let's Take a Walk (Continued) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44329546&postcount=723)

Palomino Island- A Near Miss and a Casualty (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44339424&postcount=731)

Is Our New Home Ready Yet, Lunch/Dinner and an Unexpected Visitor (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44354605&postcount=743)

Tuesday March 6:

Tour Guide, Is it going to Rain in the Rainforest Today? Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44403593&postcount=761)


Tour Guide, Where is the Fountain of Youth? Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44445311&postcount=774)


Most Popular Fruit (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44411090&postcount=768)

Lunch, Palomino Island, Tour of Las Casitas Villas, Stingray Cafe (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44514396&postcount=789)



Wednesday March 7:

Shopping and Palomino Island (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44543763&postcount=802)


Coqui Water Park and last night dinner at Bella Vista (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44554742&postcount=810)

Thursday March 8:

Whatever happened to that bottle of champagne, bus ride to San Juan and Would You Rather? (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44572740&postcount=819)


************************************************** ****************


Atlantis- Comfort Suites April 15-20, 2012
Pages 58-73

Preview Pictures, page 56:

Around Atlantis and The Digs Aquarium (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44670979&postcount=829)

Atlantis Waterpark (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44670988&postcount=830)

Snorkeling in the Ruins and Snorkeling in the wild (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44671001&postcount=831)

Atlantis- February 2009 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44787912&postcount=856)

Arrival Day/Comfort Suites Paradise Island
(http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44802171&postcount=862)

CS Room 291 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44802444&postcount=863)

Aquaventure Waterpark

Best."Lazy" River. EVER! Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44825022&postcount=882)

Best."Lazy" River. EVER! Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44825105&postcount=883)



The Power Tower (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44846240&postcount=897)

The Power Tower-The Drop and The Falls (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44846244&postcount=898)

The Power Tower-The Surge (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44846338&postcount=899)

The Power Tower- The Abyss (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44846415&postcount=900)


The Mayan Temple, Part 1 ( http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44888961&postcount=923)

The Mayan Temple, Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44888968&postcount=924)

The Rest of the Waterpark: Pools/Hot Tubs/Kiddie Area (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44919001&postcount=940)


Finally, Food Porn! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44973921&postcount=963)


Let's Take a Walk Around Atlantis (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45023975&postcount=971)

The Royal Towers Lobby and The Dig, Part I (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45029534&postcount=977)

The Dig, Part II (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45047724&postcount=988)

More of The Dig and the Ruins Lagoon (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45047740&postcount=989)

Fins to the Left! Predator and Ray Lagoons (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45059892&postcount=1000)

Fins to the Right! Predator Tunnel (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45059893&postcount=1001)

Paradise Lagoon (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47284550&postcount=1033)

Under the Sea, Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47290409&postcount=1040)

Under the Sea, Part 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47290419&postcount=1041)

Snorkel The Ruins:

Snorkeling The Ruins (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47353597&postcount=1053)
Pictures 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47353604&postcount=1054)
Pictures 2 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47353607&postcount=1055)

Atlantis Beaches (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47401585&postcount=1062)

Marina Village (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47445529&postcount=1076)

Tour of Nassau, Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47652981&postcount=1081)
Tour of Nassau, Part 2: Fort Charlotte and Fort Stanley (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47652995&postcount=1082)
Tour of Nassau, Part 3 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47652999&postcount=1083)


************************************************** ****************


Mexico- Barcelo Maya Colonial: February 16-22, 2013
Pages 74-XX

Introductions (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47692884&postcount=1096)
Donna Saves the Day! (Arrival) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47714421&postcount=1111)
What did Nate Do? (Activities) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47738858&postcount=1126)
How Many Times Did My 14 year Almost Get Served (Drink Porn) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47762426&postcount=1142)
What Two Important Things Bit the Dust? Under the Sea (Snorkeling) (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47794161&postcount=1159)
Where Cameras Go To Die: Under the Sea, Part II (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47794167&postcount=1160)
Bonus Nature Track: The Land and Soarin' (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47831441&postcount=1180)
Time to Xplor (and Soar)! (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47875015&postcount=1192)
Xplor, Part II (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47875047&postcount=119)
Pier Pressure/One Ring To Fail Them All (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47901586&postcount=1214)
Fantasia: A Touch of Disney South of the Border, Part 1 (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47969516&postcount=1227)
Fantasia: A Touch of Disney South of the Border, Part 2: Pictures (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47969534&postcount=1228)

************************************************** ***************************
Pre Trip Report, July 2013, Universal/Islands of Adventue: Hard Rock Hotel, Disney: Beach Club Resort (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48662425&postcount=1243)

Pre-Trip Report: "What's New?" (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48702138&postcount=1257)


Underwater Camera Discussion (Panasonic Lumix, Fuji XP60)
Purchase (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48736668&postcount=1268)
General Info/Tips for Underwater Cameras (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48740239&postcount=1272)
Pictures (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=48764400&postcount=1273)

.

pixarmom
07-17-2011, 11:37 AM
Hi Dee! Welcome home again! We're so excited to read your trip report - great start! :)

natebenma
07-17-2011, 11:43 AM
Yeah! You're first! So glad to have you along!

bean bunny
07-17-2011, 11:45 AM
So looking forward to reading your trip report :)

saintstickets
07-17-2011, 12:46 PM
Looking forward to your trip report. We are not only going to Orlando next May and not visiting WDW, we are staying at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge! I wonder if they'll kick us out if they find out? :eek: Our plan is to go to Seaworld, Discovery Cove (swim with the dolphins), IoA (strictly for Harry Potter) and then Kennedy Space Center. It will seem so strange to stay at VWL and not go to a WDW theme park but we gotta use those DVC points! Can't wait for your TR and get ideas what to do, where to go and places to eat! ;)

kldmom2000
07-17-2011, 01:11 PM
Love your trip reports Dee! Thanks for the email!!! :) Looking forward to hearing all about WWOHP and more! :goodvibes

DrMomof3
07-17-2011, 03:44 PM
I am so excited to hear all about your trip!!! :banana::banana::banana:

Amanda

MickeyT
07-17-2011, 05:33 PM
Checking in with anticipation! :thumbsup2

natebenma
07-17-2011, 05:33 PM
So looking forward to reading your trip report :)

Hi! Glad you are joining in! Hope the report does not disappoint.

Looking forward to your trip report. We are not only going to Orlando next May and not visiting WDW, we are staying at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge! I wonder if they'll kick us out if they find out? :eek: Our plan is to go to Seaworld, Discovery Cove (swim with the dolphins), IoA (strictly for Harry Potter) and then Kennedy Space Center. It will seem so strange to stay at VWL and not go to a WDW theme park but we gotta use those DVC points! Can't wait for your TR and get ideas what to do, where to go and places to eat! ;)

:welcome:
Yes, there will be lots and lots of tips, and lots of food suggestions and pictures. Food porn is my specialty!

So I am guessing you will have a car to get around. We don't like to drive while on vacation, so we had huge transportation expenses. Free transportation around the parks, and especially the Magical Express, was one thing I really missed.

Love your trip reports Dee! Thanks for the email!!! :) Looking forward to hearing all about WWOHP and more! :goodvibes

I look forward to sharing with you! We all had a great time, but Nate especially LOVED Universal! BTW- I'm jealous of your upcoming trip! Please give all my friends my best wishes!

I am so excited to hear all about your trip!!! :banana::banana::banana:

Amanda

Hi Amanda! I'm glad you are here. It's almost like you got an engraved invitation or something. ;)

natebenma
07-17-2011, 05:35 PM
Checking in with anticipation! :thumbsup2

Nice to see you here, Mike! Thanks for helping to hold down the BC fort while I was away. I'm going over there now to do some updating!

Grumpy's Wife
07-17-2011, 06:11 PM
I think I've read two of your other trip reports. I'm looking forward to reading this one as well.

Marlton Mom
07-17-2011, 06:11 PM
Marlton Mom checking in! I'm all belted up and ready for take off. So far, so good on the trip report.

I like how you tell us all your money saving secrets on park tickets and the like. How did you choose your transportation company from MCO to Portafino?

Are you using All Ears, the Dis Boards or Mouse Savers for tips and info?

Where else are you getting your discount info??

Spill it GF!..... The economy is bad and Mommy needs another trip! :lmao:

~ Marlton Mom

saintstickets
07-17-2011, 06:16 PM
Hi! Glad you are joining in! Hope the report does not disappoint.

:welcome:
Yes, there will be lots and lots of tips, and lots of food suggestions and pictures. Food porn is my specialty!

So I am guessing you will have a car to get around. We don't like to drive while on vacation, so we had huge transportation expenses. Free transportation around the parks, and especially the Magical Express, was one thing I really missed.

Yes, we normally drive in when it is DW, DD, DDbf and myself. It is a 10 hour drive for us. If we fly, by the time we drive to the airport, arrive early for TSA checks and any layovers, we only save about 2 hours travel time. DS & DSgf fly in and use ME or we pick them up at the airport.

I'm sure the TR will not disappoint. Can't wait for the tips, suggestions and oh yes...LOVE food porn! :rotfl2:

Marlton Mom
07-17-2011, 06:30 PM
I'm sure the TR will not disappoint. Can't wait for the tips, suggestions and oh yes...LOVE food porn! :rotfl2:

Man, what is it with you people and food porn!!! I have to laugh because when my food comes I'm so tired from taking a million other pictures I can't even imagine stopping to snap a pix while the plate is still pristine.

I think the only thing I would be good for would be taking pictures of demolished dishes with captions like " This used to be ____ and it was so good I wish I had taken a picture of it!"

~ Marlton Mom

TeenaS
07-17-2011, 07:52 PM
OK, I'll read it, but I won't like it. Still can't believe you didn't spend at least one night back at home (BC)!!!

BC/YC Pool Noodles
07-17-2011, 08:03 PM
Dear Dee,
Paul Noodle here.

You have always been so kind to us on the Beach Club, Yacht Club frequently asked questions thread. I was sorry to hear your family forced you to go to another amusement park, especially one that didn't have pool noodles.

It must have been so lonely.

I hope you get the ginsu, what ever that is.

Sincerely,
Paul Noodle

natebenma
07-17-2011, 08:07 PM
I think I've read two of your other trip reports. I'm looking forward to reading this one as well.

Great! So glad to have you join us! Thanks!

Marlton Mom
07-17-2011, 08:08 PM
OK, I'll read it, but I won't like it. Still can't believe you didn't spend at least one night back at home (BC)!!!

Well that's cause YOU weren't there!!!

:tongue:

~MM

natebenma
07-17-2011, 08:10 PM
OK, I'll read it, but I won't like it. Still can't believe you didn't spend at least one night back at home (BC)!!!

:rotfl:

You can close your eyes during the scary parts.

We really did miss not staying at the BC. We probably would have found a way to include a stay there if you had been in town. Hope all is well with your beautiful grandbaby and that Jeanne is managing to get some sleep!

natebenma
07-17-2011, 08:18 PM
I like how you tell us all your money saving secrets on park tickets and the like. How did you choose your transportation company from MCO to Portafino?

Are you using All Ears, the Dis Boards or Mouse Savers for tips and info?

Where else are you getting your discount info??

~ Marlton Mom

Thanks for joining the party!

The transportation company was one that was recommended in the Universal forum on the DIS. There is a whole sticky of transportation info between MCO and US and US and Disney.

Most of my info comes here from the DIS/Universal Boards but that damn last minute Sea World thing was from the Passporter website. I do get the Mousesavers newsletter/Undercover Tourist e-newsletter monthly, too

Man, what is it with you people and food porn!!! ~ Marlton Mom

My family is used to me screaming "Stop! Don't eat that!" until I stick the camera between their mouths and their plates.

Well that's cause YOU weren't there!!!

:tongue:

~MM

What she said!



Paul Noodle here.



Yeah! My first non-human follower!

nannette
07-17-2011, 08:19 PM
OK, I'll read it, but I won't like it. Still can't believe you didn't spend at least one night back at home (BC)!!!

Yay glad I didn't miss anything yet!!! Can't wait to read about your trip at the other park!!

~Nannette

doccoc2002
07-17-2011, 08:21 PM
Can't wait to read it. I want to hear about crowds at WWoHP.

BC/YC Pool Noodles
07-17-2011, 08:25 PM
Yeah! My first non-human follower!

We are originally from China and we are considered to be Poly-ethylene in heritage.....

Paul

Ichiban
07-17-2011, 08:39 PM
Looking forward to reading your TR. Love the title! Oldest DD and I spent one day at IOA, but we mainly focused on WWoHP.

BCV23
07-17-2011, 08:41 PM
I'm in, Dee. And yes, it is very, very wrong to use your Disney Visa to purchasde tickets to that other park. ;) :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

Marlton Mom, thanks for the link (although it did not work for me? :confused3).

WsPrincess
07-17-2011, 09:10 PM
Dee, I am here and cannot wait to read. My kids are so little that I know this trip is a long way off for me so I am going to live vicariously through you!

And I think using your Disney Visa just shows where your loyalty is!

natebenma
07-17-2011, 09:17 PM
Looking forward to reading your TR. Love the title! Oldest DD and I spent one day at IOA, but we mainly focused on WWoHP.

Thanks for joining in and for your comments about the title. I think I came up with it at MK.

My second place title was "Universal Charms but the Mouse is More Magical"

I'm in, Dee. And yes, it is very, very wrong to use your Disney Visa to purchasde tickets to that other park. ;) :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

Marlton Mom, thanks for the link (although it did not work for me? :confused3).

Hey, using the Disney Visa earned me $5.80 to put toward MK tickets!

Dee, I am here and cannot wait to read. My kids are so little that I know this trip is a long way off for me so I am going to live vicariously through you!

And I think using your Disney Visa just shows where your loyalty is!

My kids were almost exactly the right age for these parks. Nate is now a rollercoaster junkie, but there are still several things Ben refuses to ride.

Marlton Mom
07-17-2011, 10:00 PM
I'm in, Dee. And yes, it is very, very wrong to use your Disney Visa to purchasde tickets to that other park. ;) :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

Marlton Mom, thanks for the link (although it did not work for me? :confused3).

I fixed it so now she should get enough hits for a whole drawer full of the Ginsu's

~MM

LovintheLodge
07-17-2011, 10:48 PM
I'm here Dee...and looking forward to your trip report!! Welcome back. Can't wait to hear what you have to say about US/IOA. My family went there for 2 days during our Disney trip in 2005. I'll wait to comment on our thoughts until I read yours. My kids would love to visit the WWOHP. Before we went to WDW last August (remember Flat Dee came to our DIS Meet!) our kids were saying I can't believe we aren't seeing HP since it just opened (and I told them that's exactly why...the crowds were crazy!).

Anyway...I'm buckled up and ready for the ride....

Kerry

ntikos
07-17-2011, 11:05 PM
I'm checking in as a fellow BC enthusiast and looking forward to your report.

I really enjoyed your last one! We are heading to BCV in August and I'm trying to see how I can squeeze in a day @ IOA.

Mom3girls
07-17-2011, 11:24 PM
I'm checking in too! We will be arriving at Universal for two night in just three weeks, before our Beach Club stay. Can't wait to read your trip report!!!

katiebelle21
07-17-2011, 11:50 PM
Joining in! Marlton Mom gave quite the announcement (advertisement) on the BC/YC thread! :)

always
07-18-2011, 12:44 AM
I'm here from the YC/BC thread too. :) Looking forward to your report!

Katesdad
07-18-2011, 06:04 AM
Dee,

We're here with all the others waiting for the details of "the place that cannot be named" trip report. Glad you made it back. Hope you have time to rest up before you sit down to put it all out there for all of us to see.

natebenma
07-18-2011, 06:19 AM
Hey all!

I'm here Dee...and looking forward to your trip report!! Welcome back. Can't wait to hear what you have to say about US/IOA. My family went there for 2 days during our Disney trip in 2005. I'll wait to comment on our thoughts until I read yours. My kids would love to visit the WWOHP. Before we went to WDW last August (remember Flat Dee came to our DIS Meet!) our kids were saying I can't believe we aren't seeing HP since it just opened (and I told them that's exactly why...the crowds were crazy!).

Anyway...I'm buckled up and ready for the ride....

Kerry

Glad to have you here! Can you believe it is time for Flat Dee to take another trip! I have to get in gear if I am going to make it to the meet on July 25.

I'm checking in as a fellow BC enthusiast and looking forward to your report.

I really enjoyed your last one! We are heading to BCV in August and I'm trying to see how I can squeeze in a day @ IOA.

Thanks for coming! Have you checked the website for Dreams Unlimited? They were offering a deal for around $120 for a one day admission that includes transportation to/from Disney resorts and US/IoA.

I'm checking in too! We will be arriving at Universal for two night in just three weeks, before our Beach Club stay. Can't wait to read your trip report!!!

I should be able to get some helpful information into the trip before you go, but if not, we can talk privately.

Joining in! Marlton Mom gave quite the announcement (advertisement) on the BC/YC thread! :)

Ya think? That was so nice of her! She is now the unofficial spokesperson of Natebenma Trip Reports*

* please note this is a postion with honorary status only, no compensation provided
:welcome:

I'm here from the YC/BC thread too. :) Looking forward to your report!

:wave2: Thanks!

Dee,

We're here with all the others waiting for the details of "the place that cannot be named" trip report. Glad you made it back. Hope you have time to rest up before you sit down to put it all out there for all of us to see.

I'll try to get to the "good stuff" as soon as I can. I appreciate you following along!

Tinkerbell's mama
07-18-2011, 07:25 AM
Followed MM here also. Can't wait to hear your report!

jmamom
07-18-2011, 08:20 AM
Hi Dee! Followed you here from the Y/BC thread. Can't wait to read all about it! :goodvibes

kaylamag
07-18-2011, 09:19 AM
Can't wait to read your report. We are planning on spending a day at IOA on our upcoming December trip, still debating on adding Universal. We (myself and my mother) are mostly going to see Harry Potter world and are dragging my husband and 2 daughters along for the day.

Feckless
07-18-2011, 10:02 AM
Another person following Marlton Mom's directions over here!!! :laughing:

Looking forward to your report - we too are planning a day on the "dark side". Especially after seeing the last movie, my kids cannot imagine a trip to Orlando without going to see WWoHP...

natebenma
07-18-2011, 10:38 AM
Followed MM here also. Can't wait to hear your report!

:welcome:

Hi Dee! Followed you here from the Y/BC thread. Can't wait to read all about it! :goodvibes

Thanks!

Can't wait to read your report. We are planning on spending a day at IOA on our upcoming December trip, still debating on adding Universal. We (myself and my mother) are mostly going to see Harry Potter world and are dragging my husband and 2 daughters along for the day.

Are you going in early December or during vacation week?

Another person following Marlton Mom's directions over here!!! :laughing:

Looking forward to your report - we too are planning a day on the "dark side". Especially after seeing the last movie, my kids cannot imagine a trip to Orlando without going to see WWoHP...

Even my husband, who is a major muggle, appreciated how impressive WWoHP is!

Next installment coming right up!

natebenma
07-18-2011, 10:49 AM
When I left off, we were all getting a good night’s rest for the long day ahead. The morning was uneventful, car service arrived at 4:45 and we were off to the airport. We had checked in on-line, so went right to the place where you hand over the luggage.

Next we headed to security. We hand over our boarding passes and drivers’ licenses. The TSA guy is kidding around with us and then he says to my husband “Your license is expired”. I say “You’re joking!” (forgetting that TSA guys probably don’t make a whole lot of jokes with travelers). The license Mark handed over had indeed expired. He keeps the old one in his wallet- some places ask you to leave a license as a “return guarantee” when you borrow something. He found his actual license and handed that over.

PHEW!!!

Through the gate, and into line for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. Last DD iced coffee before the trip. Why are there no Dunkin’s in Orlando???


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4622.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4621.jpg


Flight took off- this was probably one of the best flights we have been on. Nobody’s ears popped. Smooth flight. Mark and I got to sit together, in the seats in front of the boys. The boys were super on the flight. Ben was drawing pictures of the 50 states in a notebook. He is currently on a geography kick. Loves to watch “How the States Got their Shapes” and he is collecting quarters from the 50 states. Nate was reading a little bit. He hates to read. I can’t get him to read what he needs to for school, never mind for pleasure. But the night before our trip, he asked if he could read Stephen King’s Cell. I am a major SK fan, but Cell was one of my least favorite of his books and it was fairly gory (A “Pulse” causes cellphone users to become flesh-eating zombies). But Nate was asking to read!!! Go for it!

My reading material was the book Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. It is about the Greek Gods living in modern day London. Hilarious, but a bit raunchy. Reminded me a lot of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


We arrived at MCO at 10 am, and got on the little monorail thingy. Yay, first ride of the day!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4634.jpg


When we arrived in baggage claim, our driver was there with my name on a sign.

Our two checked suitcases were already on the carousel.

Off we went and we arrived at Portofino Bay Resort by 10:45!!!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_6270.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4866.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_6790.jpg


We were third in line at the check-in desk. I had requested a balcony room, but there are only two in the Villa (Concierge) Wing, and they were both occupied when we arrived. There was a room ready when we checked in at 10:45 am.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4643.jpg

Not-so-great view of scrubby bushes:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5455.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5452.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5454.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4655.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4649.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5463.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5645.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_6081.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4850.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4658.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4855.jpg


Next up: All about the Portofino

jenneth79
07-18-2011, 11:28 AM
So excited to read your TR!:thumbsup2 Perhaps it's a guilty pleasure, because we still haven't convinced ourselves it's worth going to see WWHP just yet....

And I think you've made DisBoards history with the first Follower comprised of a family of inanimate objects!:goodvibes

Which reminds me, I need to chat with the Noodles about September.... hmm....

natebenma
07-18-2011, 11:35 AM
So excited to read your TR!:thumbsup2 Perhaps it's a guilty pleasure, because we still haven't convinced ourselves it's worth going to see WWHP just yet....

And I think you've made DisBoards history with the first Follower comprised of a family of inanimate objects!:goodvibes

Which reminds me, I need to chat with the Noodles about September.... hmm....

:welcome:

I was going to use the word inanimate, but I didn't know if that was PC and I was afraid Paul would be offended, so I used the term non-human instead. The members of the Noodle family are definitely animated!

mickeystoontown
07-18-2011, 12:18 PM
Hey Dee! So glad to see that you've started the report. I'm going back to see what I've missed out on so far.

mickeystoontown
07-18-2011, 12:30 PM
I'm all caught up now. Glad to read that everything has gone smoothly so far and I'm hoping that the rest of the trip is that way as well. I agree with you that the view wasn't the greatest but the room looks very nice.

natebenma
07-18-2011, 01:46 PM
I'm all caught up now. Glad to read that everything has gone smoothly so far and I'm hoping that the rest of the trip is that way as well. I agree with you that the view wasn't the greatest but the room looks very nice.

Yay! I was hoping you would show up!

Definitely a "meh" view, but that really wasn't important. It would have been more of an impact if I had gotten a room with a balcony (although the balcony rooms probably have decent views). It was also different for this trip because I have a big girl phone now that I can use to check e-mails and send texts and keep up with the BC/YC thread in the early morning or late night hours, so I wasn't as concerned with having a place to go with my coffee and a book as I have been on past trips.

aprilisis
07-18-2011, 02:44 PM
The Portofino looks really nice! I love the room decor.
Don't you just love it when you have a hassle-free trip? Did you fly from Logan? That airport is SO much better than it was in the 90's. After they constructed the tunnel, the traffic going to and coming from the airport is MUCH better, too!

natebenma
07-18-2011, 02:52 PM
The Portofino looks really nice! I love the room decor.
Don't you just love it when you have a hassle-free trip? Did you fly from Logan? That airport is SO much better than it was in the 90's. After they constructed the tunnel, the traffic going to and coming from the airport is MUCH better, too!

The trip was mostly hassle-free. There was some conflict at the end, but we are a LONNGGGGG way from that.

Yes, we usually fly out of Logan, but I prefer Manchester NH when the flights work out. Really easy to get into and out of and parking is obscenely reasonable.

natebenma
07-18-2011, 03:04 PM
OK, I'm going to get all of the Portofino stuff out of the way.
I am also posting this on the Universal Trip Reports board, and if you want more of my details about the resort, follow this link: http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41890438&postcount=7


The Portofino Bay Hotel is a beautiful, quiet, romantic hotel based on a luxurious resort in Italy.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4664.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4824.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4883.jpg

Confession time: I have never longed to visit Italy.
Maybe that's weird, but my husband and I are beach folk at heart and we will take the tropics over Europe any day of the week.

For those of you who have followed me over from the Beach/Yacht Club forum and are wondering if I have a new favorite resort in Orlando...
No Way! This was a very nice resort, and the theme park perks are amazing, but my heart still belongs to the Beach Club. :love:

To be honest, I think one of the other Universal resorts (The Hard Rock Hotel or the Royal Pacific) would have been a better match for our family. The Portofino was not exactly our style- we don't do fancy! But I think this was the only place that had club level rooms available when we booked.



One of the decorative features of the Portofino are a number of Trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) paintings throughout the resort. Here are a few:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4862.jpg
http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4889.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4891.jpg

Pools:

I tried two of the three pools. The main pool was fun. Temperature was refreshing, cool but not cold. There is a sandy beach, lots of afternoon activity, a fun pool slide in the fort, music in the evening. I never had trouble finding seats.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4899.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4911.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4917.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4919.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4925.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4915.jpg



The villa pool is quieter and I found the water to be a little warmer than I care for.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4937.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4940.jpg


Kids areas:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4908.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_4909.jpg


Other activities- Bocce and pool:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5482.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5473.jpg


I loved that they had water coolers and cups at the pools and all over the resort. They also had a basket of sunscreen where you pick up your towels. I think it is complimentary, but we didn’t need to check.


Transportation:- see the link above


Concierge

Here is a link to my post I on the Universal Resorts sub-forum with lots of pictures from the Concierge Lounge.
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2760502

Our stays at the Beach Club have hooked us on Concierge. Especially in the mornings. Unfortunately, the Portofino Club Lounge does not start serving breakfast until 7 am, which was when you can (and should) enter the Wizarding World. We were able to ask for a couple of boxes of cereal and bananas the afternoon before we had early park days. We also purchased pastry from Sal’s Deli and Marketplace. We were able to enjoy the CL breakfast offerings on our Magic Kingdom and Sea World mornings.

The food selections were great, and everything seemed to be plentiful and replenished when it got low, but the service in the lounge does not compare to the service we have experienced at Disney’s BC Club Level. The couple of times we had an issue, the Concierge Staff was not able to resolve the problem so we had to go to the front desk.

The first issue we had was trying to convert our Universal admission vouchers, which were printed on regular 8 1/2 by 11 paper , to a durable ticket that would not be destroyed if it got wet. Which is a very real possibility with some of the rides at Islands of Adventure. They couldn’t do that at CL, but to be fair, the ticketing desk couldn’t do it either. We needed to go to Guest Services at the park to get this done.

The other thing that happened was strange. On our first afternoon at Universal Studios, our room key, which I thought was linked to our credit card to make purchases in the park, was rejected. We had already used it a couple of times for lunch and some souvenirs but the third time we presented it, it was denied. The CL staff was not able to help with this. When we checked with the front desk, they told us we had a $100/day limit on our room charges. Wait, What??? Do these people (who work at a resort) not realize that $100 does not go very far in a theme park? The woman at the desk told us they would increase our daily limit, but she wouldn’t tell us by how much. She said “It will be enough”

Next up: The Adventure Begins at Universal Studios: 3-D 4-D OD D’OH!
Sorry folks, it's not Harry Potter yet!

.

dixie06
07-18-2011, 03:19 PM
joining in love the pictures :)

aprilisis
07-18-2011, 03:39 PM
Great update! That main pool area looks really cool. Should I even dare ask how you think it compares to Stormalong Bay? :lmao: That stinks that concierge lounge opens at 7. You would think they might know that resort guests will be taking advantage of the extra hour in the parks in the morning & open it at least a half an hour before that- maybe even an hour. I can't wait to hear what you thought about WWoHP!
I've never flown out of Manchester- but I fly out of TF Green a lot. I'm in Worcester, so it is a little closer.

Queila
07-18-2011, 03:55 PM
Signing up!
:thumbsup2
Welcome back Dee! :) Wow... just got back and you are already 4 pages in.

Portofino looks like a really nice hotel but I ca totally see why your heart will forever belong to the Beach Club.

Cannot wait to read more.
Q

JanetMom
07-18-2011, 08:41 PM
Hello Dee

I'm signing up for your trip report. Can't wait to hear more! Selfishly, I'm pleased to hear that you like the CL at BC better (even if CL doesn't come with a Ginzu knife set:) )

Looking forward to the next update!

tortoni
07-18-2011, 08:43 PM
Hi Dee, tuning in and loving the report so far. It's been years since we have stayed at Portofino but I really like that resort. Front entrance looks so different though. Can't wait for your HP review.

Toni

WsPrincess
07-18-2011, 09:30 PM
I know what you mean about the Cell. I didn't mind it but it was not my favorite SK book. I think it is great he is reading though.

The resort looks very nice but I think it would be too fancy for us too. Can't wait to read more :cool1:

natebenma
07-18-2011, 09:42 PM
joining in love the pictures :)

Thank you! I love taking pictures! So happy you are joining us.

Great update! That main pool area looks really cool. Should I even dare ask how you think it compares to Stormalong Bay? :lmao: That stinks that concierge lounge opens at 7. You would think they might know that resort guests will be taking advantage of the extra hour in the parks in the morning & open it at least a half an hour before that- maybe even an hour. I can't wait to hear what you thought about WWoHP!
I've never flown out of Manchester- but I fly out of TF Green a lot. I'm in Worcester, so it is a little closer.

The pool was nice, but much much much much smaller than SAB. Also not as deep. I think there was one spot that was over my head and that was it. I like the deep sections of the lazy river at SAB.

The fort slide was fun! The slide was not enclosed. I wouldn't say I'm claustrophobic, but I like open slides better.

I did not do sufficient research about CL before we booked it so I didn't learn until later that it would not be possible to sit down for breakfast on the days before we visited WWoHP. :sad2:


Signing up!
:thumbsup2
Welcome back Dee! :) Wow... just got back and you are already 4 pages in.

Portofino looks like a really nice hotel but I ca totally see why your heart will forever belong to the Beach Club.

Cannot wait to read more.
Q

:wave2: Hi Queila! I'm psyched that you are here!

I hope to someday read that your lovely family is planning a stay at the Beach Club!

Hello Dee

I'm signing up for your trip report. Can't wait to hear more! Selfishly, I'm pleased to hear that you like the CL at BC better (even if CL doesn't come with a Ginzu knife set:) )

Looking forward to the next update!

My husband and I don't really drink a lot, but the BC CL has complimentary evening cordials. We enjoyed a glass of Amaretto out on the balcony once or twice during our BC stays.

I think you could pay a pour for mixed drinks at the Portofino lounge.

The BC CL CMs definitely had a greater range of services that they could offer.

No Ginsu knife, but :thumbsup2 for saltwater taffy!

You will love it!

Hi Dee, tuning in and loving the report so far. It's been years since we have stayed at Portofino but I really like that resort. Front entrance looks so different though. Can't wait for your HP review.

Toni

:welcome:

The resort was definitely breathtaking everywhere we looked. There will be plenty of Harry. Eventually! :rotfl:

natebenma
07-18-2011, 09:45 PM
I know what you mean about the Cell. I didn't mind it but it was not my favorite SK book. I think it is great he is reading though.

The resort looks very nice but I think it would be too fancy for us too. Can't wait to read more :cool1:

Oh, don't get me started on SK!

What is your favorite? Have you read Eyes of the Dragon? :love: Or the Gunslinger series? The Stand was amazing!

Didn't really enjoy Tommyknockers.

DrMomof3
07-18-2011, 10:02 PM
The hotel looks lovely but I also think I would choose Hard Rock for my family. The pool does look nice! Now if only my kids would grow tall enough for the rides.... :lmao:

Amanda

saintstickets
07-18-2011, 10:04 PM
Man, what is it with you people and food porn!!! I have to laugh because when my food comes I'm so tired from taking a million other pictures I can't even imagine stopping to snap a pix while the plate is still pristine.

I think the only thing I would be good for would be taking pictures of demolished dishes with captions like " This used to be ____ and it was so good I wish I had taken a picture of it!"

~ Marlton Mom

Take a pic of the "before" and "after" and let the pics be your review of how you liked the dish! Food porn at its best! :rotfl2:

BC/YC Pool Noodles
07-18-2011, 10:42 PM
And I think you've made DisBoards history with the first Follower comprised of a family of inanimate objects!:goodvibes


You know, Pastina tells me I have the personality of an inanimate object, especially when we are at parties, but then this is the same woman who leaps at the chance to impress people at her yoga parties with her "planking*" skill after a couple of pinot grigio's!

* = http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/planking#.TiTt-qgrUZo

:welcome:

I was going to use the word inanimate, but I didn't know if that was PC and I was afraid Paul would be offended, so I used the term non-human instead. The members of the Noodle family are definitely animated!

No offense taken. We pool noodles think you humans are much MORE animated..... after all, you're having a conversation with a pool toy.

Paul Noodle

mainelyj
07-18-2011, 11:44 PM
Enjoying your report so far.

BTW there are Dunkin Donuts in Orlando. I do recall one being on the main road near Downtown Disney.

pixarmom
07-18-2011, 11:45 PM
The hotel looks lovely but I also think I would choose Hard Rock for my family. The pool does look nice! Now if only my kids would grow tall enough for the rides.... :lmao:

Amanda

Ditto on the hotel. Ditto on the Hard Rock. Ditto on the pool. And ditto on our youngest growing tall enough for HP! He stayed with family for a few hours on Saturday night while we took our older boys to see Deathly Hallows, and he was excited to play with his cousin, so he accepted the following explanation: "We're going to see a show about a boy for big kids." But that won't fly for the Wizarding World!

Dee, great details and great photos, as always!

And a P.S. regarding page one: Of course it's wrong to use your Disney Visa to buy Universal tickets. :)

natebenma
07-19-2011, 05:40 AM
Now if only my kids would grow tall enough for the rides.... :lmao:

Amanda

And ditto on our youngest growing tall enough for HP!

And a P.S. regarding page one: Of course it's wrong to use your Disney Visa to buy Universal tickets. :)

I think it is wise for the two of you to wait until your youngest kids are older/taller for your trip to these parks. Ben, who is 10, would not try a lot of the more extreme rides, so it was a pain when we had to split up. A couple of years ago, I think Nate would have had issues with some of the rides, but there is no stopping the boy now!

Well, Universal had no issue taking my money!!!

Take a pic of the "before" and "after" and let the pics be your review of how you liked the dish! Food porn at its best! :rotfl2:

I'm more a traditional purveyor of Food Porn. I prefer pictures of pre-consumed meals.

Enjoying your report so far.

BTW there are Dunkin Donuts in Orlando. I do recall one being on the main road near Downtown Disney.

Thanks for the heads up. Since we don't have a car on vacation, we have to settle for whatever is around us.

No offense taken. Paul Noodle

Thanks! All are welcome here!

natebenma
07-19-2011, 06:35 AM
http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4969.jpg

* note: this is a sign at the entry of IoA. Sorry for any confusion.

After checking out our room and dropping our luggage, it was time to head over to Universal Studios. We figured that Harry Potter land at Islands of Adventure would be mobbed by the time we arrived, so our plan was to visit first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. As resort guests, we are able to enter WWoHP at 7 am, an hour before the park opens to the general public.

On the way out, we stopped by the club lounge for some bottles of water and granola bars and bags of Terra chips to go.

There is a path that runs along the canal that takes you from the Portofino to City Walk, the entry way to the two parks. I had been checking out the Universal boards for a few months and a veteran poster over there, Bubba’s Mom, put together great instructions (including photos) of a shortcut through the Hard Rock Hotel parking lot that shaves about 5 minutes off of the walk. I copied the instructions into an easy-to-follow map. Miraculously, we did not get lost. I am severely directionally challenged, so I was a little afraid of where I might lead my family!

In about 10 minutes, we saw this:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6583.jpg


I guess we are going the right way!


Since most of you here are familiar with Disney rides and attractions, I will try to describe the things at Universal by relating them to their Disney counterparts.


After entering US, we took a right into the Hollywood section of the park. The first attraction we did was Terminator 2: 3-D, A live show where the future of humanity is in your hands.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4794.jpg


Terminator is like Muppets 3-D with cyborgs and the Governat-adultorator instead of Kermit and Fozzy Bear, more guns, more explosions and more attitude. I was not aware that anyone “Booed” Arnold, but after seeing this once, I won’t be back.


We continued to the right and entered Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. There was not much that interested the boys here, but Mark and I wanted to
check out E.T. Adventure- ride your bike across the stars. Totally Peter Pan!

ETA: I forgot to add this in my original posting, but always reminded me! When you are in the preshow (with Steven Spielberg), you are handed a boarding card. Just as you are getting ready to board the ride, you go to a desk where they ask your name. At the end of the ride E.T. says your name. Or whatever name you give him. Ben used Arnold. We had just come from Terminator.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4674.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4679.jpg



We entered the next “land”- World Expo: Our next stop was the Simpson’s Ride- Crash through Krustyland. I would call this one “Soarin’ over Springfield”
You don’t wear glasses, but it is a lot like a 3-D experience.

This was our longest wait of the day so far, about 10 minutes. But man, did we feel sorry for the people in the standby line waiting over an hour for this.
It was HOT!

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4680.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4681.jpg


Next door to the Simpsons is Men in Black Alien Attack- Zap Aliens and save the galaxy.
Obviously, Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin with grotesque aliens in the dark instead of a fluorescent background.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4692.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4693.jpg



At this point we were starting to get hungry for lunch. The International Food & Film Festival was close by, but we peeked in and it was pretty crowded so we continued on to San Francisco/Amity. Is anyone else geographically bothered that US has combined an East Coast town and a West Coast City in the same land?


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4702.jpg


Please join me in a chorus of “I left my shaaaark… in San Fran-cisco”

As long as we are passing by, we might as well ride Jaws. Go on a “leisurely” boat tour off the coast of Amity.
Jungle Cruise with a little Catastrophe Canyon thrown in.
BTW- best seats on the boat are on the left- you get a lot more action!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4705.jpg


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4709.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4710.jpg


Once this ride is over we are REALLY hungry! (Sushi???)

We are close to Lombard’s, a sit down restaurant on the San Francisco Wharf.


Next up: We Dine with the Fishes :fish: and 3-D 4-D OD D’OH!

.

DrMomof3
07-19-2011, 06:52 AM
My kids are thrill-seekers in general but I know I won't spend the $$$ for Universal until I'm sure they can (and will!) ride the E ticket rides.
I LOVE your description of rides with the Disney counterparts. Very informative!

Amanda

mickeystoontown
07-19-2011, 09:50 AM
I am sure you were thanking Bubba's Mom when you were able to get to the park much quicker than going the normal route. I am all about shaving off a few minutes of walking in order to get to a theme park quicker.

Thanks so much for Disney attraction comparisons. This helped me out a lot since we haven't been to Universal in years.

cindydare
07-19-2011, 10:11 AM
I've only read the first 2 pages and can tell this is going to be a great read! popcorn:: :goodvibes DD7 wants to go to the "dark side" and Sea World, but we're going to have to wait til DS3 is just a little bit older. ;)

Cindy

jenneth79
07-19-2011, 12:02 PM
I really cannot believe they thought 100 dollars for a family would be enough for snacks in a Florida theme park! Did they say that was the limit they put on until you asked to be able to charge to your room? How silly!:sad2:

jenneth79
07-19-2011, 12:06 PM
You know, Pastina tells me I have the personality of an inanimate object, especially when we are at parties, but then this is the same woman who leaps at the chance to impress people at her yoga parties with her "planking*" skill after a couple of pinot grigio's!

* = http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/planking#.TiTt-qgrUZo

Paul Noodle

My humblest apologies. I merely meant inanimate in the physical sense, but not at all in any way shape or form did I refer to personality.:goodvibes

kraeurb
07-19-2011, 02:32 PM
I'm loving your report. Also, glad BC is still your favorite resort.

cocofifi
07-19-2011, 03:03 PM
Great trip report! We really enjoyed PBH. Looking forward to BC in October!

natebenma
07-19-2011, 04:13 PM
My kids are thrill-seekers in general but I know I won't spend the $$$ for Universal until I'm sure they can (and will!) ride the E ticket rides.
I LOVE your description of rides with the Disney counterparts. Very informative!

Amanda

It is really hard not to make the comparison to rides that I know so well!

I am sure you were thanking Bubba's Mom when you were able to get to the park much quicker than going the normal route. I am all about shaving off a few minutes of walking in order to get to a theme park quicker.

Thanks so much for Disney attraction comparisons. This helped me out a lot since we haven't been to Universal in years.

Yes, I'm very grateful to Bubba's Mom.

She also has a hysterical pictoral TR on the Universal board from many years ago. She brought a stuffed Mickey to the parks and photographed him at all the rides, gift shops, restaurants, etc. Very funny!!!


I've only read the first 2 pages and can tell this is going to be a great read! popcorn:: :goodvibes DD7 wants to go to the "dark side" and Sea World, but we're going to have to wait til DS3 is just a little bit older. ;)

Cindy

Thank you so much for your kind comments! The kids will be great ages to enjoy "the dark side" in a few years.

I really cannot believe they thought 100 dollars for a family would be enough for snacks in a Florida theme park! Did they say that was the limit they put on until you asked to be able to charge to your room? How silly!:sad2:

No kidding!

I'm loving your report. Also, glad BC is still your favorite resort.

BC is my true love. :love: I was just "using" the Portofino for the front of the line and early admission!

Great trip report! We really enjoyed PBH. Looking forward to BC in October!

Not a bad lineup! I don't think I've seen you hanging out on the BC/YC board. Come on over sometime if you haven't visited- the link is in my signature.

bellebookworm9
07-19-2011, 08:11 PM
I'm joining in! I LOVE Harry Potter-saw DH Part 2 twice over the weekend, and once was at the midnight premiere. :goodvibes I really wanted to go to WWoHP this coming January while we're in Florida looking at grad schools, but it's looking to be too expensive. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm hopefully a Florida resident.

I really just want to visit for the atmosphere of Hogsmeade-the Forbidden Journey sounds like it might be too much for me!

always
07-20-2011, 12:06 AM
Does ET still say your name at the end? :goodvibes

natebenma
07-20-2011, 04:07 AM
I'm joining in! I LOVE Harry Potter-saw DH Part 2 twice over the weekend, and once was at the midnight premiere. :goodvibes I really wanted to go to WWoHP this coming January while we're in Florida looking at grad schools, but it's looking to be too expensive. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm hopefully a Florida resident.

I really just want to visit for the atmosphere of Hogsmeade-the Forbidden Journey sounds like it might be too much for me!

:welcome:

I still have not seen the movie yet! ACK!!! It was kind of neat being in Orlando, at Universal during the movie premiere but we had too much going on to attend the midnight showing.

Did you hear that the after the movie screening at City Walk, everyone at the theater was invited to WWoHP from 3 am to 5 am for a complimentary, private visit? *jealous* But then again, I was there just 2 hours later!

Does ET still say your name at the end? :goodvibes

Oh, I forgot that!

Yes, he says your name, or whatever name you give him. Ben used Arnold (we had just come from Terminator)

Going back to post to ETA!

natebenma
07-20-2011, 06:06 AM
It was around 2:00. Or maybe 1:00. More about that later. No matter what the time, we were a pretty hungry quartet.

We walked into Lombard’s and were seated immediately.

Right here:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4752.jpg

Score!

I have been an avid snorkeler for over 20 years. I love tropical fish! This tank kept me mesmerized while waiting for our meal.

Snap! Snap! Snap!

That’s me taking pictures of the fish in the tank. I don’t know how many pictures I took, but I have 24 “keepers”. Don’t worry, I won’t post ALL of them!


The first one below is named Mark.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4722.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4720.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4741.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4735.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4739.jpg


Food Porn!


Chinese Chicken Salad (Mark and I split this)

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4748.jpg


Fisherman’s Basket (Mark and I split this too, and Ben got his own)

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4751.jpg


Lomburger (Nate)

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4749.jpg


Raspberry Key Lime Shot (Nate) and Chocolate Sabyon (Ben)

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4753.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/Lombards/IMG_4754.jpg


Everything was excellent. At least I assume the desserts were excellent. There was nothing left in the glass for me to taste!

Cost of Meal with AAA discount ($6.65): $63.79 plus tip

I forgot to mention this earlier-

At almost any restaurant or shop in Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and City Walk, you will receive a 10% discount if you show your AAA card.

COOL!

Except when you forget to mention it!

There are some exceptions- chain restaurants, NBA or other licensed merchandise, etc. And there are some oddball quirks. You can receive the discount on Butterbeer if you get it at The 3 Broomsticks or Hogshead Inn, but not at the carts in the streets of Hogsmeade. Get it?

After finishing our meal, we were headed for Disaster-A major motion picture ride… starring YOU!

This kind of was a Disaster- the attraction had just broken down and was not operating. We will have to check it out another time.

So we continued on to Revenge of the Mummy- a psychological thrill ride 3,000 years in the making.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4670.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4767.jpg

I’m not exactly sure how to describe it, but I LOVED it!!! It is a rollercoaster ride that stops in various rooms of a cursed tomb. Lots of stops, starts, turns and reverses. The graphics and animatronics were seriously excellent. It reminded me most of Expedition Everest, but that’s not quite right. Or Dinosaur, but not so jerky.

Did I mention I :love: it?

Ben did not. That was the first and last time for him on this trip.

At this point we split up for a bit. Nate and I rode Mummy again and Mark and Ben headed off to Jaws and Men in Black again.

We met up at 4:00 (or was it 5:00?) outside the entrance of Shrek 4-D- a totally in-your-face fairy tale adventure. I guess this was like It’s Tough to be a Bug, if the seats in the Tree of Life shook back and forth. Once was enough for us on this one.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4787.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4788.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4792.jpg


And then, we made a mistake! We tried to do one last thing. Another go on the Simpsons ride. I wasn’t really feeling this, and I probably should have said something. We were already near the exit after Shrek, but instead we made the long, hot walk through the park to the Simpsons and then back again. I had taken Bonine earlier in the day to fight off motion sickness, but no one else had. I felt fine after the ride, but the other three were a little queasy when it was done.

In the span of a few hours, we have done all of the attractions we wanted to at least once, with the exception of Disaster. Plus had a very satisfying lunch. There were still two shows I wanted to see: Hollywood Horror Makeup Show and Beetlejuice Review. I'll post some pictures of Rip Ride Rocket later. This is a rollercoaster that does not have Front of the Line access. Which is fine, because nobody really wanted to ride it.

Have I mentioned that the Front of the Line for resort guests really ROCKS???

We walked onto rides while others were waiting an hour or more, out in the heat for a 3 minute ride or attraction. Disney does a much better job airconditioning their queues.

But cramming in all of the “multi-dimensional” experiences: Terminator, Shrek and the Simpsons twice on our travel day took its toll. We were at 3-D 4-D OD. D’OH! as Homer would say.

After leaving Universal, we hopped on the shuttle boat back to Portofino. It was time to eat dinner, so we stopped in at Sal’s Deli and Marketplace. While we were there, we also picked up some pastry for the next morning, since we would be heading out before the concierge lounge opened.

After dinner, we went back to the room and I unpacked a little bit. Or I went to the pool for a quick swim and to take some photos. I can’t remember the exact order. We also stopped by the lounge for a sweet treat- coconut cake and cookies.

It was a long, busy, fun and exhausting day. Tomorrow we would be getting up early- The Wizarding World Was Waiting.
7 am opening!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6770.jpg


(Almost) Next up: The Early Bird Catches the Snitch

.

mkoerner
07-20-2011, 06:59 AM
Can't wait to hear about Harry Potter. We're doing 1 day at IOA during our Disney trip 4 weeks from tomorrow!!

DrMomof3
07-20-2011, 07:06 AM
That's a really long and busy day! I can't believe how much you accomplished. Good tip on the AAA card!

Amanda

aprilisis
07-20-2011, 08:01 AM
You got some great photos! I'm with you on the Mummy- I LOVE that ride!:love: I also agree about the Express pass- we didn't stay at Universal in May, but we did buy the pass. It was really worth it- I just wish the Forbidden Journey was included. Thank you for the tip about the AAA card & dining- I had no idea about that!

HockeyMomR
07-20-2011, 08:30 AM
Dee - great start!

Loved your beginning comment about charging your Universal tickets on Disney Visa :rotfl2:

Looking forward to your Harry Potter adventure.

Rebecca

Queila
07-20-2011, 10:00 AM
Great update!
:thumbsup2
I have not been to Universal Studios since 2005 and they seem to have some cool new stuff. I assume they replaced Back to the Future with the Simpsons ride.

I remember Mummy being my favorite ride of the day too. Very unique.

And ET always makes me emotional. I love that movie and I love that ride. Brings me great childhood memories.

That food looks very yummy... specially those desserts. So I guess this is the "Coral Reef" of US? :laughing:

I remember having the best onion rings ever at Mel's Drive In. Wonder if that is still there...

Cannot wait to read more.

Q

PS. The Beach Club and the Bay Lake Tower are the two Deluxes I am dying to try soon. I have a feeling that we will try the BLT before the BC though. I just think Beatriz should be a bit older to fully enjoy the Stormalong Bay... :confused3

doccoc2002
07-20-2011, 02:13 PM
Great start. I can't wait to read about WWoHP & how that went with the early opening for resort guest.

natebenma
07-20-2011, 02:41 PM
Can't wait to hear about Harry Potter. We're doing 1 day at IOA during our Disney trip 4 weeks from tomorrow!!

:welcome:

You must be getting very excited! Just a couple more days to wait for our first visit to Hogwarts. I'll definitely have tips to share for both on-site and day visitors by the time you take your trip.

That's a really long and busy day! I can't believe how much you accomplished. Good tip on the AAA card!

Amanda

It WAS a busy day, but not our busiest of the week. I don't even think it was our second busiest!!!

You got some great photos! I'm with you on the Mummy- I LOVE that ride!:love: I also agree about the Express pass- we didn't stay at Universal in May, but we did buy the pass. It was really worth it- I just wish the Forbidden Journey was included. Thank you for the tip about the AAA card & dining- I had no idea about that!

Thanks so much for your nice comments about my pictures. One thing that annoyed me at Universal was their prohibition on taking pictures on some rides. Yes, I can understand the whole "No Flash Photography" thing, but the "Put your cameras away from the ride attendants on Jurassic Park and Ripsaw Falls?" I'm generally a rule follower, but...:rolleyes1 there may be one or two bootleg photos appearing here soon!

Yes, the AAA is one of my favorite tips. It totally annoyed me when I forgot (or my DH forgot) to use it.

Dee - great start!

Loved your beginning comment about charging your Universal tickets on Disney Visa :rotfl2:

Looking forward to your Harry Potter adventure.

Rebecca

Thanks, Rebecca! Harry's coming soon- but first, I am going to need some proof that you all are worthy... :)

Great start. I can't wait to read about WWoHP & how that went with the early opening for resort guest.

We used the early opening for WWoHP twice, on Tuesday and on Friday.

Great update!
:thumbsup2
I have not been to Universal Studios since 2005 and they seem to have some cool new stuff. I assume they replaced Back to the Future with the Simpsons ride.

I remember Mummy being my favorite ride of the day too. Very unique.

And ET always makes me emotional. I love that movie and I love that ride. Brings me great childhood memories.

That food looks very yummy... specially those desserts. So I guess this is the "Coral Reef" of US? :laughing:

I remember having the best onion rings ever at Mel's Drive In. Wonder if that is still there...

Cannot wait to read more.

Q

PS. The Beach Club and the Bay Lake Tower are the two Deluxes I am dying to try soon. I have a feeling that we will try the BLT before the BC though. I just think Beatriz should be a bit older to fully enjoy the Stormalong Bay... :confused3

Yes, Back to the Future is gone. The Delorean and Jules Verne train are still there, though.

Right, Coral Reef! I thought of that while we were eating there. I'll have to remember to comment on that for future meal descriptions!

Mel's is still there, but it gets horrible reviews! Not quite as bad as Circus McGuirkus in Seusland, but we avoided both of these places.

What is the pool area like at CR/BLT? Do they have a splash park?

I'm going to try to win you over girl. Don't forget about the sand bottom/castle building beach at SAB or the kiddie pool and slide area. The second photo was provided by HockeyMomR (Rebecca), above:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Beach%20Club%20FAQ/P7120291.jpg


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Beach%20Club%20FAQ/kiddieslide1.jpg

mkoerner
07-20-2011, 02:52 PM
One quick question. I am thinking of reserving a room at the Royal Pacific hotel just for 1 night to be able to use the early entry and more important, the line bypass thing. In your opinion, do you think these 2 perks are worth the $300 or should we just arrive at opening and take our chances? Will be on August 18. There will be 4 adults and a 4 year old.

natebenma
07-20-2011, 03:36 PM
One quick question. I am thinking of reserving a room at the Royal Pacific hotel just for 1 night to be able to use the early entry and more important, the line bypass thing. In your opinion, do you think these 2 perks are worth the $300 or should we just arrive at opening and take our chances? Will be on August 18. There will be 4 adults and a 4 year old.

Do it!!!

I saw it explained like this over on the UNI forum.

Say you were going to buy the express pass for the 4 adults and 1 child- how much would that cost? And the express passes you can purchase are only good 1 time on each ride. And staying at Royal Pacific, you will be 5 MINUTES away from IoA. The early entry is definitely a biggie. I hate to give much away, but even with early entry, on Friday morning we had a 35-40 minute wait for the Olivanders show. By the time the park opened to regular guests, I'm guessing the line was probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours. And did not get any smaller later in the day.

You will also be "ahead of the crowd". As you are leaving Hogwarts and going to other areas, the off-site guests will just be coming in. To Harry Potter, of course. So you will have a quiet stretch of an hour or so, when everyone else will be in one place and you will be somewhere different.

Do it!!!

My husband and I discussed if on a future trip if we were going to both Disney and Universal whether it would be worth it just to rent the room and maybe not even stay there!

I'm guessing you will have 1 day passes to IoA but if you have more than 1 day, you would have express privileges on the day you check in and check out.

Do it!!!

Easy for me to spend YOUR money, isn't it!!! :rotfl:

ddluvsdisney
07-20-2011, 04:20 PM
Love your trip report!! I wish I had the patience to do something like this. Your pictures are fantastic!
We did a split stay HRH/BC last summer. I know you answered some of my questions on the BC/YC thread.
We had such a good time last year we are doing it again this year. We are staying 4 days at HRH and 8 days at the Poly!!! So excited :)
Thanks for posting about the AAA discount for restaurants and parks that is so helpful!!!
Wish I knew about that last year- well better late than never!
We are also huge HP fans- that's what brought us over to Universal to begin with. I definately thought I was cheating on Mickey LOL :)
Thanks Again.
Can't wait to read more.

bookgirl
07-20-2011, 04:28 PM
Hey Dee,

Had to run over from the YC/BC board to check out Hogwarts.

natebenma
07-20-2011, 07:17 PM
Love your trip report!! I wish I had the patience to do something like this. Your pictures are fantastic!
We did a split stay HRH/BC last summer. I know you answered some of my questions on the BC/YC thread.
We had such a good time last year we are doing it again this year. We are staying 4 days at HRH and 8 days at the Poly!!! So excited :)
Thanks for posting about the AAA discount for restaurants and parks that is so helpful!!!
Wish I knew about that last year- well better late than never!
We are also huge HP fans- that's what brought us over to Universal to begin with. I definately thought I was cheating on Mickey LOL :)
Thanks Again.
Can't wait to read more.

Glad you are enjoying the report! I'm having a lot of fun writing it and getting it down in writing really helps me to remember things about the trip.

Sounds like you have a super fun trip to look forward to.

Obviously, you liked the Hard Rock. Care to share any details? Did you do any pool hopping to the other resorts (which is permissible)?

Hey Dee,

Had to run over from the YC/BC board to check out Hogwarts.

You didn't have to run! It is still going to be a couple of days before I start the Hogwarts chapter.

Marlton Mom
07-20-2011, 08:43 PM
Must

have

more.... mooore MOOORE!!!

The worst part is waiting for the next chapter...

ZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...

SNORT!

Must stay awake!!! :eek:

~MM

natebenma
07-20-2011, 08:57 PM
Must

have

more.... mooore MOOORE!!!

The worst part is waiting for the next chapter...

ZZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...

SNORT!

Must stay awake!!! :eek:

~MM

I'm typing as fast as I can!

Best advice for you is to go to sleep and check again at 5:30 tomorrow morning!

'Nite!

ddluvsdisney
07-20-2011, 09:44 PM
Glad you are enjoying the report! I'm having a lot of fun writing it and getting it down in writing really helps me to remember things about the trip.

Sounds like you have a super fun trip to look forward to.

Obviously, you liked the Hard Rock. Care to share any details? Did you do any pool hopping to the other resorts (which is permissible)?



You didn't have to run! It is still going to be a couple of days before I start the Hogwarts chapter.

My DH loved the HRH! Well at least the waitresses that brought food and drinks all day at the pool lol. We also stayed CL last year and will do the same next month. We didn't do any pool hopping, it didn't even occur to me I guess b/c I wouldn't do it at Disney- we were happy where we were. :)
We're also renting a cabana this year b/c DH said "next year we are getting one of those!" Unlike the cabanas at the POLY we are renting one from 9am til midnight for almost the same price as a half day at POLY. That is insane!!! I love Disney more than Universal but when you stay other places you realize how expensive Disney really is.
Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Did it feel like a whirlwind? You weren't there that long and did a lot!!! so far.

mkoerner
07-20-2011, 10:02 PM
Thanks Dee! I can't figure out how to put your quote in my reply:) Just got off the phone with my husband who is in Tampa on business, and he says go for it, so I'm gonna book the one night at Royal Pacific!! Sooo excited!!
Marsha

PirateMommy
07-20-2011, 10:21 PM
Do it!!!

I saw it explained like this over on the UNI forum.

Say you were going to buy the express pass for the 4 adults and 1 child- how much would that cost? And the express passes you can purchase are only good 1 time on each ride. And staying at Royal Pacific, you will be 5 MINUTES away from IoA. The early entry is definitely a biggie. I hate to give much away, but even with early entry, on Friday morning we had a 35-40 minute wait for the Olivanders show. By the time the park opened to regular guests, I'm guessing the line was probably 1 1/2 to 2 hours. And did not get any smaller later in the day.

You will also be "ahead of the crowd". As you are leaving Hogwarts and going to other areas, the off-site guests will just be coming in. To Harry Potter, of course. So you will have a quiet stretch of an hour or so, when everyone else will be in one place and you will be somewhere different.

Do it!!!

My husband and I discussed if on a future trip if we were going to both Disney and Universal whether it would be worth it just to rent the room and maybe not even stay there!

I'm guessing you will have 1 day passes to IoA but if you have more than 1 day, you would have express privileges on the day you check in and check out.

Do it!!!

Easy for me to spend YOUR money, isn't it!!! :rotfl:

So glad to hear this from you. We're spending just one night there before heading to BC next month, simply because I want the HP early entry and the fast passes. DH is grumbling - a lot - about spending $300 for one night, and since we are only spending the one day at IOA, I want to make the most of our day!:yay:

PirateMommy
07-20-2011, 10:22 PM
And I'm enjoying your TR so far - can't wait to read more! :thumbsup2

natebenma
07-21-2011, 04:50 AM
Thanks Dee! I can't figure out how to put your quote in my reply:) Just got off the phone with my husband who is in Tampa on business, and he says go for it, so I'm gonna book the one night at Royal Pacific!! Sooo excited!!
Marsha

To put the quote in a reply, hit the reply button in the post you are trying to quote. Then type your message in the area below.

To multi quote, click on the " button next to quote in each of the messages you want to quote, and when you are done, go to the regular "reply" button that you use, and you will get all of the quotes.

Everything I learned about posting I learned on the DIS!

HTH :)

Hopefully you won't curse me for this advice. Definitely not while you are there. Maybe when you get your credit card bill.


So glad to hear this from you. We're spending just one night there before heading to BC next month, simply because I want the HP early entry and the fast passes. DH is grumbling - a lot - about spending $300 for one night, and since we are only spending the one day at IOA, I want to make the most of our day!:yay:

With the crowds and heat in the summer, this is money well spent. Waiting in lines is not what you want to be doing. Since you are only there for one day, you want to give yourselves the best chance to enjoy as much as possible!

And I'm enjoying your TR so far - can't wait to read more! :thumbsup2

Thank you so much!!!

natebenma
07-21-2011, 04:55 AM
My DH loved the HRH! Well at least the waitresses that brought food and drinks all day at the pool lol. We also stayed CL last year and will do the same next month. We didn't do any pool hopping, it didn't even occur to me I guess b/c I wouldn't do it at Disney- we were happy where we were. :)
We're also renting a cabana this year b/c DH said "next year we are getting one of those!" Unlike the cabanas at the !POLY we are renting one from 9am til midnight for almost the same price as a half day at POLY. That is insane!!! I love Disney more than Universal but when you stay other places you realize how expensive Disney really is.
Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Did it feel like a whirlwind? You weren't there that long and did a lot!!! so far.

Thanks for your comments about the Hard Rock. I looked longingly over there as we passed the hotel on our walk. I am definitely more of a Rock and Roll gal than an opera lover.

I have read from others who have rented cabanas and I saw the ones at Portofino. Sound like a nice relaxing plan.

Yes, our trip was a whirlwind. But this is pretty typical of our touring style. We don't take much time to smell the roses. Or chlorine. Or hotel ameneties. Still, I think I made it for a swim 3 times.

natebenma
07-21-2011, 04:59 AM
Here is your Entrance Exam for Hogwarts.

Can you pass this O.W.L. ???

Warning: the following post is for serious Harry Potter fans only (Potterheads? Griffindorks?)

The rest of you muggles can feel free to skip this post and join us tomorrow when we enter the land of Oz. Wait, wrong wizard!

I mentioned in my intro that Nate had a couple of Harry Potter-themed birthday parties. One year we hired a magician. For his 9th birthday (2007), I hand-delivered invitations on parchment with burnt fringes (note to self: burn the edges AFTER printing the invitation, not before) via a stuffed owl. When the kids arrived they were sorted into houses and faced several challenges as a team.

We had a game of Quiddich, which the self-proclaimed Griffindorks won. Nate was on this team, so I suspect there was a home field advantage.

Predictably, the Ravenclaws had the highest score on the O.W.L.

Let’s see if you are worthy to enter Hogwarts.

Here are the house rules- no cheating by going back to books (or Googling) to look something up. But if you have children who are HP freaks in the house, you may ask them for help.

I’ll post answers tomorrow- you can self score and post your score if you wish. Or not.

Winner gets nothing but bragging rights.

Good luck!




O.W.L.
Ordinary Wizarding Level


What is significant about today’s date, July 31? (10 points)

How many Weasley children are there? (10 points)


Curses! A “Spelling” Bee (Spelling doesn’t count!)

Name two Unforgivable Curses (5 points each)

Give a spell that would bring your broomstick to you (5 points)

What would “Incendio Textbook !“ do? (5 points)


Name 3 Pure blood wizards, 3 Half-blood wizards and 3 Muggles (15 points)
Define the term “Squib” and give two examples (5 points)


How many Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans are in the vase in the dining hall?
Guess within 20 beans: 15 points,
Guess within 50 beans: 10 points
Guess within 100 points: 5 points


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1534-1.jpg



Match the Disgusting Substance in the Jars:

Troll Snot _____ Dementor’s Intestines _____ Vampire Blood _____

Unicorn Droppings ____ Pixie Livers _____ Rat Spleen_____

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1536.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1535.jpg




Essay Question (20 points):
For each House at Hogwarts, give the full name of the founder, house colors, the animal that represents the house and one of the qualities of the students. Hint: The founders’ first and last names begin with the same letter, like Minerva McGonagall or Dudley Dursley

Griffyndor Slytherin Hufflepuff Ravenclaw

Founder:

House Colors:

Symbol:

Quality:



Here are a couple of other pictures from the party. The cake is actually a Shrek cake. I put cutouts of Harry over the Shrek in the window, and placed my own figurines. I can't find my pictures of the dementors. Maybe they don't photograph well.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1543.jpg http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1540.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Harry%20Potter%20Birthday%20Party/IMG_1533.jpg

natebenma
07-21-2011, 04:59 AM
O.W.L. Answer Key

What is significant about today’s date, July 31? (10 points): Harry’s Birthday (Double points if you know it is J.K. Rowlings BD, too!)

How many Weasley children are there? (10 points): 7

Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny

Did you forget Percy?

Curses! A “Spelling” Bee (Spelling doesn’t count!)

Name two Unforgivable Curses (5 points each):
Crucio (torture, red spark), Avada Kedavra (kills, green spark) and Imperio (forces victim to obey the commands of the caster, no colored spark)

Give a spell that would bring your broomstick to you (5 points): Accio Broomstick!

What would “Incendio Textbook !“ do? (5 points): Lights your textbook on fire.

Name 3 Pure blood wizards, 3 Half-blood wizards and 3 Muggles (15 points)
Define the term “Squib” and give 2 examples.

Your answers may vary- let me know if you need a ruling:

Pure bloods: The Weasleys, The Malfoys, The Blacks, Dumbledore
Half bloods: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Tom Riddle (Voldemort)
Muggles: The Dursleys

A squib is someone born to a wizarding family who does not possess magical powers. Argus Filch, Mrs. Figg*, Marius Black and an unnamed stock broker cousin to the Weasleys. OK, I had to look those last two up!

(* 1/2 point if you said the neighbor who watches Harry for the Dursleys but is really watching him at the request of Dumbledore)


How many Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans are in the vase in the dining hall?
Guess within 20 beans: 15 points
Guess within 50 beans: 10 points
Guess within 100 points: 5 points

OK, this is a trick question. The answer is really 0, since these were Jelly Bellies, not actual BBs. 20 points if you said zero.

But the count was 358 (actually 357 because Sam’s mom ate one when she dropped him off for the party. I may have had a little freak out then. “That’s part of the O.W.L!!!”


Match the Disgusting Substance in the Jars:

Troll Snot-E Dementor’s Intestines -D Vampire Blood -C

Unicorn Droppings -B Pixie Livers -F Rat Spleen- A

Forgot to add the points awarded. Let's say 5 points for each correctly identified disgusting substance.

FYI, the disgusting substances were:


Troll snot- pineapple chunks in lime jello (Max quite enjoyed that, found it tasty)
Dementor’s intestines- leftover corkscrew pasta with Portabella mushrooms.
(I think it was a 2-week old leftover found in my fridge, so it really WAS disgusting!)
Vampire Blood- V8
Unicorn Droppings- Raisinettes
Pixie Livers- kidney beans
Rat Spleen- Lupini Beans. Also disgusting. They are hard and REALLY salty. I normally like every variety of beans. :)


Essay Question (20 points):
For each House at Hogwarts, give the full name of the founder, house colors, the animal that represents the house and one of the qualities of the students. Hint: The founders’ first and last names begin with the same letter, like Minerva McGonagall or Dudley Dursley

Griffyndor
Godric Griffyndor, Scarlet and Gold, Lion,
Courage, Bravery, Daring, Nerve, Chivalry

Slytherin
Salazar Slytherin, Green and Silver, Snake/Serpent
Ambition, Cunning, Clever, Crafty, Powerful, Resourcefulness

Hufflepuff
Helga Hufflepuff, Black and Yellow, Badger
Hard Work, Loyalty, Patience, Fair Play

Ravenclaw
Rowena Ravenclaw, Blue and Bronze, Eagle
Wicked Smart! Intelligence, Knowledge, Wit

Another good question would have been to match the ghost to his or her house at Hogwarts:

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington aka Nearly Headless Nick, The Fat Friar, The Bloody Baron and The Grey Lady

Next time you post, feel free to include your O.W.L. score, if you wish!

mkoerner
07-21-2011, 07:31 AM
We are very excited to be able to see WWOHP and the rest of IOA, but wow this is a very expensive overnight adventure when adding the cost of 5 park tickets and 1 night on site hotel! Good thing I have my summer madd money :rotfl:

natebenma
07-21-2011, 07:42 AM
We are very excited to be able to see WWOHP and the rest of IOA, but wow this is a very expensive overnight adventure when adding the cost of 5 park tickets and 1 night on site hotel! Good thing I have my summer madd money :rotfl:

MK was our expensive 1 day splurge last week.

1 day park tickets: $90 per person, Transportation to/from Contemporary Resort, $80 plus tip, Souvenirs, Snacks, Lunch, Meal at Kona: $$$ :scared1:

Kicking Butt and OWNING the MK for 12 1/2 hours: Priceless!

WsPrincess
07-21-2011, 11:40 AM
I love the quiz (which I will go back and do). The party looks like so much fun. How cool! My friends did the same theme for their son. When they sorted the kids using the hat they actually used a baby monitor in the hat so it would announce the house as they were sorted. I cannot believe you have delivered all the invites. You are an amazing mom!

Marlton Mom
07-21-2011, 11:51 AM
I am so cheating on that quiz!!! :ssst:

~MM

natebenma
07-21-2011, 12:32 PM
I love the quiz (which I will go back and do). The party looks like so much fun. How cool! My friends did the same theme for their son. When they sorted the kids using the hat they actually used a baby monitor in the hat so it would announce the house as they were sorted. I cannot believe you have delivered all the invites. You are an amazing mom!

Ooh- I like!

I had our porch decorated as the Great Hall, and the mom of one of my sons friends walked in, took a look and said "Where is the enchanted ceiling?" You can just imagine how that drove a stake through my heart! :eek:


I am so cheating on that quiz!!! :ssst:

~MM

I would expect nothing less!

nannette
07-21-2011, 01:17 PM
I am so cheating on that quiz!!! :ssst:

~MM


I wouldn't even know where to begin to cheat... I read Dee's post and was like really! I've never seen one Harry Potter movie or picked up any of the books, but I did enjoy Dee's test questions and photo's popcorn::

~Nannette

ddluvsdisney
07-21-2011, 02:46 PM
I am so cheating on that quiz!!! :ssst:

~MM

With my DH and my oldest DS there is no need to cheat.
They are HP freaks or should I say Potterheads or Griffyndorks!!? lol

Although there were a couple that stumped even them. :)

jmamom
07-21-2011, 03:51 PM
Oops, sorry

natebenma
07-21-2011, 04:10 PM
jmamom- sent you a PM. Nice job, but we have some self-proclaimed cheaters in our midst. If you see this message can you edit out your responses- I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Dee

saintstickets
07-21-2011, 05:00 PM
:sad2: So sad. I knew the answers to all but one of the questions. It would be okay if I were not old enough to sign up for AARP! :sad1:

natebenma
07-21-2011, 05:11 PM
:sad2: So sad. I knew the answers to all but one of the questions. It would be okay if I were not old enough to sign up for AARP! :sad1:

Which one?

natebenma
07-21-2011, 05:13 PM
BTW- I don't fault anyone for having trouble with the Bertie Botts and the Potions Lab questions- I know it is tough to answer these questions using just the photographs.

And also, just so you don't all think I'm a total meanie giving this test to 9 year olds... I did give them the first 4 books to use for reference (and for the house colors/symbols etc, they all had badges from when I sorted them.

saintstickets
07-21-2011, 05:19 PM
Which one?

BTW- I don't fault anyone for having trouble with the Bertie Botts and the Potions Lab questions- I know it is tough to answer these questions using just the photographs.

You got it....the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans guesstimate.

jenneth79
07-21-2011, 05:39 PM
BTW- I don't fault anyone for having trouble with the Bertie Botts and the Potions Lab questions- I know it is tough to answer these questions using just the photographs.

And also, just so you don't all think I'm a total meanie giving this test to 9 year olds... I did give them the first 4 books to use for reference (and for the house colors/symbols etc, they all had badges from when I sorted them.

Oh boooo.... I liked the idea better if you didn't give them the books for reference!:rotfl: Although, with the kids in my life they probably wouldn't need them. Aunt Jen has been informed many times that even though she has read the books she is nothing better than a Muggle with her inability to recall specific details.... like 80% of this quiz. :lmao:

I get my revenge with those evil little jelly bellys that taste like mud. I *might* have sorted out all the good flavors once....

....can you tell I'm not a mom?:rotfl2:

Queila
07-21-2011, 05:46 PM
Totally lost here.

Never got into Harry Potter. :rolleyes:

The quiz sounds like a lot of fun though. :thumbsup2

Q

wdwgirl03
07-21-2011, 05:58 PM
OK, I have to say, the bit in your title about passing an OWL got me. So, I'm joining in a little bit late-but atleast I'm in time to hear about your visit to WWOHP! My sisters and I went last year and absolutely loved it. I also heard how the people who went to the midnight premiere got to go from 3-5. How awesome!

Now...off to try my hand at those O.W.L. questions! (can you get bonus points if you say what O.W.L. stands for? haha ;))

ARmom30
07-21-2011, 06:47 PM
I am subscribing to your trip report. I don't want to miss the part about WWoHP! I loved your O.W.L. Quiz. Have you heard about the new Pottermore website? It will sort people in to houses based on JKR's specifications.

Marlton Mom
07-21-2011, 07:44 PM
jmamom- sent you a PM. Nice job, but we have some self-proclaimed cheaters in our midst. If you see this message can you edit out your responses- I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Dee

Hey! I resemble that remark! I'll have you know I'm lurking under my invisibility underwear or clock or what ever it was and I'm waiting to filch the answers. You can't give the shanks to crooks like me!
Bwa ha ha ......

~_ _

See! I told you you couldn't 'see' me!

pixarmom
07-21-2011, 07:46 PM
OK, so I was all excited about O.W.L. and thought our two older boys could really do this. But it's normal if your oldest (a pre-teen) comes home from all-day theater rehearsal and says, "Yeah, Mom, I don't feel like doing that right now," and sits down to watch a recorded episode of Modern Family instead. Right, Dee?

pixarmom
07-21-2011, 08:04 PM
OK, I have to say, the bit in your title about passing an OWL got me. So, I'm joining in a little bit late-but atleast I'm in time to hear about your visit to WWOHP! My sisters and I went last year and absolutely loved it. I also heard how the people who went to the midnight premiere got to go from 3-5. How awesome!

Now...off to try my hand at those O.W.L. questions! (can you get bonus points if you say what O.W.L. stands for? haha ;))

Sorry for the interruption, but LOVE the photo in your signature!! We were there, too! This is Aaron looking at our boys, saying "nice hats!" (They were wearing those big sorcerer Mickey hats, and we were in Adventureland at MK.)

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/6be8b5b5.jpg

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/64f2d91f.jpg

natebenma
07-21-2011, 08:42 PM
Oh boooo.... I liked the idea better if you didn't give them the books for reference!:rotfl: Although, with the kids in my life they probably wouldn't need them. Aunt Jen has been informed many times that even though she has read the books she is nothing better than a Muggle with her inability to recall specific details.... like 80% of this quiz. :lmao:

I get my revenge with those evil little jelly bellys that taste like mud. I *might* have sorted out all the good flavors once....

....can you tell I'm not a mom?:rotfl2:

Well, you can lead 9 year olds to a book, but you can't make them do research. I don't think anyone actually used the books.

Totally lost here.

Never got into Harry Potter. :rolleyes:

The quiz sounds like a lot of fun though. :thumbsup2

Q

In a few years, when Beatriz is a little older, I'm sure the two of you will enjoy the books and/or movies together. The world that JK Rowling created is so creative and mesmerizing!


OK, I have to say, the bit in your title about passing an OWL got me. So, I'm joining in a little bit late-but atleast I'm in time to hear about your visit to WWOHP! My sisters and I went last year and absolutely loved it. I also heard how the people who went to the midnight premiere got to go from 3-5. How awesome!

Now...off to try my hand at those O.W.L. questions! (can you get bonus points if you say what O.W.L. stands for? haha ;))

HP coming up tomorrow (although I haven't written the section yet)

Yes, we were there (at Universal, not the theater) during movie premier. I'll write a little about that and the fan conference that was going on at the same time as our visit. Very jealous of the people who had free reign at WWoHP from 3-5 am, but we were there just 2 hours later!

Nope, no bonus points since I have the meaning of the initials on the quiz. :)

I am subscribing to your trip report. I don't want to miss the part about WWoHP! I loved your O.W.L. Quiz. Have you heard about the new Pottermore website? It will sort people in to houses based on JKR's specifications.

I have heard a little, but not much about Pottermore. If I can ever drag myself away from the DIS...

Hey! I resemble that remark! I'll have you know I'm lurking under my invisibility underwear or clock or what ever it was and I'm waiting to filch the answers. You can't give the shanks to crooks like me!
Bwa ha ha ......

~_ _

See! I told you you couldn't 'see' me!

Who said that?!?

OK, so I was all excited about O.W.L. and thought our two older boys could really do this. But it's normal if your oldest (a pre-teen) comes home from all-day theater rehearsal and says, "Yeah, Mom, I don't feel like doing that right now," and sits down to watch a recorded episode of Modern Family instead. Right, Dee?

I feel your pain!

BTW- we love Modern Family over here, too!

Sorry for the interruption, but LOVE the photo in your signature!! We were there, too! This is Aaron looking at our boys, saying "nice hats!" (They were wearing those big sorcerer Mickey hats, and we were in Adventureland at MK.)

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/6be8b5b5.jpg

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/64f2d91f.jpg

Great pictures and story!

hill6
07-21-2011, 08:54 PM
Great review. We did Univeral when we went last year. We did both parks in one day. Got there when they opened.

I agree with you on the Mummy being hard to describe. I am pretty sensitive to motion and did not love a number of the rides. I think the worst was the Simpsons. We had a ton of fun though. We were happy though to go back to our Disney hotel.

DrMomof3
07-21-2011, 09:24 PM
I think I did pretty well on the quiz. I missed a few but it's been a few months since I've seen a movie or read one of the books.

Amanda

ddluvsdisney
07-21-2011, 09:47 PM
I think I did pretty well on the O.W.L. too with the help of my Griffyndorks DH and oldest DS.
Although there were a couple that stumped them I think they were some of the essay questions part.
It was fun to do!! We just saw the movie on Tuesday it was awesome. And I cried yet again. lol :)
Dee, I was surprised you didn't ask what a mudblood was? do I get extra points if I know?

LovintheLodge
07-21-2011, 09:52 PM
Hi Dee! Totally enjoying your trip report...strolling down memory lane for some of it since we went to US/IA in 2005...

Okay...I fail the O.W.L. test...I admit it. I haven't read the books (yet), but I've seen the first 3 or 4 movies and enjoyed them. But...I am a thrill seeker so I am along for the ride.

I (along with the rest of my family) LOVED the Mummy ride too...the only thing I didn't like was that it was too short...just loved the special effects, twists, turns, etc. !! When were were there the Simpsons ride was Back to the future. That ride was cute! My family really liked MIB. I remember getting off the ride and going right back on. I didn't like having to use those lockers though!

Back in 2005 we stayed in Disney at the WL with free dining. FD was still pretty new back then so easy to get reservations. We only had 3 before going down!?!?!? We took 2 day trips (had rental car for the week) to go to US/IOA. We liked the parks, but all 4 of us were happy to get back to Disney. I can still hear the pounding music over in Marvel land...

Kerry

AprilRenee
07-21-2011, 10:38 PM
Loving your TR! We're planning on doing a Universal day (or two) in Jan as part of our Disney trip. So I'm looking forward to learning lots through your TR! Thanks for comparing the rides to Disney ones. That helps me imagine them a lot better.

Also, my DH and I totally aced your O.W.L. (minus the Bertie Bots questions and the Potion questions) and we didn't cheat!! Your party sounds like the coolest birthday party ever! I am stashing it away in the back of my mind for when I have a 9 year old kid. I only hope Harry Potter is still cool at that point!

wdwgirl03
07-21-2011, 11:06 PM
Sorry for the interruption, but LOVE the photo in your signature!! We were there, too! This is Aaron looking at our boys, saying "nice hats!" (They were wearing those big sorcerer Mickey hats, and we were in Adventureland at MK.)

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/6be8b5b5.jpg

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m632/pixarmom/64f2d91f.jpg

I'm going to apologize for the interruption too. Soooo jealous of your pictures. I had to steal mine from the DIS, sadly. I would've loved to have been there but I was just happy to get to see the Packers/Aaron Rodgers have the "I'm Going to Disney World!" commercial.

OK, back on topic...I told my sisters and dad about the OWL and had them help me answer the ones I didn't know. I should've known they'd have the answers. They are bigger Potter fanatics than me! But I did know about half of them. :)

natebenma
07-22-2011, 05:26 AM
OK, everyone, I will be posting the answers to the O.W.L. soon. I do have to admit that I am going to have to look up a thing or two!

I hope you all enjoyed playing!


Haven't seen the movie yet!!! I'm not sure when we are going to go. Today is going to be wicked hot, so I think it is a beach/pool day. We have our annual family reunion on Saturday. Maybe Sunday.


Great review. We did Univeral when we went last year. We did both parks in one day. Got there when they opened.

I agree with you on the Mummy being hard to describe. I am pretty sensitive to motion and did not love a number of the rides. I think the worst was the Simpsons. We had a ton of fun though. We were happy though to go back to our Disney hotel.

The Simpsons was little blurry to me. I wear glasses when I drive (I probably should wear them or contacts more often) but I don't even bring them on vacation with me. Wonder if that had any impact?

I think I did pretty well on the quiz. I missed a few but it's been a few months since I've seen a movie or read one of the books.

Amanda

No amazing plans for the movie release this time?

I think I did pretty well on the O.W.L. too with the help of my Griffyndorks DH and oldest DS.
Although there were a couple that stumped them I think they were some of the essay questions part.
It was fun to do!! We just saw the movie on Tuesday it was awesome. And I cried yet again. lol :)
Dee, I was surprised you didn't ask what a mudblood was? do I get extra points if I know?

We don't use that term around here!!!

There were impressionable 9 year olds at the party!

Hi Dee! Totally enjoying your trip report...strolling down memory lane for some of it since we went to US/IA in 2005...

Okay...I fail the O.W.L. test...I admit it. I haven't read the books (yet), but I've seen the first 3 or 4 movies and enjoyed them. But...I am a thrill seeker so I am along for the ride.

I (along with the rest of my family) LOVED the Mummy ride too...the only thing I didn't like was that it was too short...just loved the special effects, twists, turns, etc. !! When were were there the Simpsons ride was Back to the future. That ride was cute! My family really liked MIB. I remember getting off the ride and going right back on. I didn't like having to use those lockers though!

Back in 2005 we stayed in Disney at the WL with free dining. FD was still pretty new back then so easy to get reservations. We only had 3 before going down!?!?!? We took 2 day trips (had rental car for the week) to go to US/IOA. We liked the parks, but all 4 of us were happy to get back to Disney. I can still hear the pounding music over in Marvel land...

Kerry

Yes, there is definitely a different vibe in the Universal parks. You especially feel it when you change from one theme park company to the other. I'm really glad our Magic Kingdom day was smack-dab in the middle of our trip.

I'm going to apologize for the interruption too. Soooo jealous of your pictures. I had to steal mine from the DIS, sadly. I would've loved to have been there but I was just happy to get to see the Packers/Aaron Rodgers have the "I'm Going to Disney World!" commercial.

OK, back on topic...I told my sisters and dad about the OWL and had them help me answer the ones I didn't know. I should've known they'd have the answers. They are bigger Potter fanatics than me! But I did know about half of them. :)

OK, no more talk about the "Football Team Which Must Not be Named" You guys are in Patriot's country, now! :laughing:

I am so hoping the NFL strike is settled soon. IDK what I would do without football in the fall.

natebenma
07-22-2011, 07:00 AM
http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_6812.jpg


Do you remember when the book “Deathly Hallows” came out and you were thinking, What the h*ll are “Deathly Hallows” anyway? Is it a place? Is it a poison? I found the title of the book was confusing and misleading. Maybe intentionally. Like the one above.

I thought of this title before we left for our trip, expecting a lot of eye rolling and attitude coming from our eldest.

“Mom, this is SO lame!”

Is it lame to say lame these days?

But it surprisingly wasn’t like that. Vacation Nate was great! Polite. Funny. Tireless.

Now available with less eye-rolling.

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5052.jpg

Oops- I spoke too soon!


Now, without further delay!


Our First Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Early Bird Catches the Snitch

One of the perks of staying at a Universal resort is that you are able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before the park opens to all guests. The week we were staying, Islands of Adventure opened at 8 am, so we were able to be admitted at 7 am. Rumor has it that they actually let people in 15-20 minutes earlier than that, but 7 was good enough for us.

We got ready in our room, ate our breakfast of bananas, cereal boxes, pastry and Poptarts from home, and soon we were off on the path suggested to us by Bubba’s Mom. :thumbsup2

The park had obviously opened already when we arrived right around 7 because there wasn’t any line at the entry turnstiles. We proceeded quickly through Suess Landing and The Lost Continent and saw our first glimpses of Hogsmeade Village:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4983.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4984.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4985.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4986.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4987.jpg

Which great wizard made everyone disappear from this photo?

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4990.jpg


Now everything I found in my research- here on the DIS Universal Forum, my guidebook (Universal Orlando 2011 by Seth Kubersky and Kelly Monaghan, excellent BTW) and even from a woman who worked at the Portofino concierge and is also a WWoHP Team Member- all had the same advice:

If you want to see Olivander’s Wanding Experience, a show where you can watch a witch or wizard as they experience their first purchase of a wand- “The wand chooses the witch or wizard”- make this your first stop.

This is a very brief show, 5 minutes long, and only 25-27 guests are let in at a time.

This is so popular that it doesn’t even appear on the map for IoA (just like “Sum of all Thrills” at EPCOT- have they started listing that yet?), however this is more like the Jedi Academy, where you have one OVER-THE-MOON thrilled guest and family members and 20 sad, disappointed spectators.

Because the shop is so small, and so few people are let in, this line builds QUICKLY throughout the day. Hours long lines. And from what we could see, they stayed like that throughout the day.

There were probably around 30-40 people in line as we walked by. Yes, walked by.

We did not follow all of the sage advice. The draw of this was too great:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4994.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4996.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4993.jpg

Many of you had said that you have been waiting for my impression.

Breathtaking!

I literally lifted my shoulders and inhaled in awe.


There are so many things to look at within the castle. First you go into an entry area of the castle/school and see a few things:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4997.jpg

(I see myself returning for a trip to the Beach Club and Nate earning straight A’s at school)


Then, you are in the greenhouse. Sometimes for way too long. To be honest, the greenhouse could use a little more magic and a little less heat. But today, it was a brief visit.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_4999.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5006.jpg


Then you go through the doors of the school:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5008.jpg


There is so much to see while you are waiting in the line:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5011.jpg

What a “Fawkes!”

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5013.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5017.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5025.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5026.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5034.jpg


And then, the ride. No photos here. No comparisons to Disney rides (although I believe that Sum of all Thrills uses the same robot arm technology). You follow Harry, Ron and Hermione through some of their adventures, mostly books 3 and 4.

It is exciting! Amazing visuals and sensations. A fitting tribute to Harry Potter- you definitely feel like you are experiencing his world.

I was worried a little about motion sickness, but again, I had armed myself, and this time, my family with Bonine and none of us had any trouble with the ride at all.

You exit out through Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated goods- a gift shop- we didn’t really linger here, but I understand there are a lot of interesting things to look at, and of course some amazing souvenirs, like coffee cups with letters that turn color when you pour in the liquid- however, we are not shoppers.

We did not have to experience the Legendary Locker Line on this trip. As some of you may know, there are a few attractions at US/IoA where you are not permitted to bring on loose articles- bags, cameras, etc. You are able to stow them in a locker at each attraction, free of charge, for the duration of the ride. If you overstay your welcome, it is going to cost you! I’ll have more information about the lockers when I get to Thursday afternoon. We needed to use a locker at Men In Black, but that was the only time.

We intentionally travelled light in these parks. I wore an ever-so-fashionable fanny pack for the few necessary items we needed- camera, small wallet, Ziplock baggies, bandaids, Tylenol, etc. We didn’t bring our phones today, because we knew this would be a day we would be enjoying some wet rides. I never had a problem from TM’s about the fanny pack.

Continued in Next Post

natebenma
07-22-2011, 07:04 AM
There are two more rides in the Wizarding World- Flight of the Hippogriff and Dueling Dragons. We rode both:

Flight of the Hippogriff – Swoop and Soar on this family friendly coaster. This is a very tame rollercoaster with some great scenery:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5044.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5053.jpg

Hi, Buckbeak!

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5054.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5055.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5057.jpg


Although I never tried it, I believe the intensity is about the same as Goofy’s Barnstormer.


Next up is Dragon Challenge- A high-speed roller coaster chase across the sky. This was an existing coaster set up (Dueling Dragons) which has now been themed to Harry Potter’s quest for the TriWizard Cup.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5067.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5068.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5069.jpg


Why is Mr. Weasley’s flying Ford Angila here?

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5072.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5074.jpg



You board either the red Chinese Fireball or the Blue Hungarian Horntail. Both coasters take off on their respective tracks at the same time (with slight adjustments for the weight of the passengers in the cars). It looks like you will crash into the riders of the other coaster in three separate places as the rides converge.

Twin, intertwined Rock-n-Rollercoasters, without Aerosmith.

I don’t have any decent pictures of the ride seats (you look like you are suspended from the claws of a dragon) or of the ride. Must steal from internet or other trip reports!

The boys have said all along that they were going to ride this. We watched the Universal episode of “Bert the Conquerer”, a travel show where the host tackles extreme rides, and this ride was featured. I was pretty sure Nate would do it, but I had my doubts about Ben.

But we all boarded Dragon Red- and rode. And Ben screamed in holy terror for the whole ride! AH-AH-AH!!! Short break. Upside-down again. AH-AH-AH!!!! We’re gonna crash- AH-AH-AH!!!

I think Ben is very proud of himself for going on this- we are proud, too- but this will be his last ride on the Dragons for this trip. It was time to move on to one of Ben’s favorite subjects- DINOSAURS!

Next up: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth; You’re going to get wet, eh; You’re going to get wetter (Popeye laugh), Olive my Love, Stuck at the Barrier to Station 9 ¾ (where I learn I am the victim of a time-turner) and I give this meal 3 Broomsticks.

Now that we have finally seen Harry Potter together for the first time, I don’t want you all running off on me! This is not the last time we will be visiting. Not even the last time this morning! There are LOTS more pictures. And my very best WWoHP tip doesn’t come until our last morning. How is that for a tease???

.

aprilisis
07-22-2011, 07:28 AM
GREAT update & descriptions! I love your WWoHP photos! You're lucky you didn't have to use a locker there- it is a NIGHTMARE getting back & retrieving stuff from them after the ride.

wdwgirl03
07-22-2011, 08:17 AM
Yes, I do remember wondering what the Deathly Hallows were. When I got to the part where they first mentioned them, I was like OHHHHHHHH, I'm going to get an answer soon! haha

Love the WWOHP update! When we went last summer we didn't have the luxury of getting into the park early so we ended up waiting about 45 minutes for the Forbidden Journey. I was a little hesistant about riding but am SO glad I ended up trying it anyway. There really is nothing like it. Amazing!

Feckless
07-22-2011, 09:15 AM
I'm loving your report, Dee! And I hope you don't mind my sending some of your party ideas to a friend with a HP obsessed daughter!

pixarmom
07-22-2011, 11:06 AM
[SIZE="3"]Do you remember when the book “Deathly Hallows” came out and you were thinking, What the h*ll are “Deathly Hallows” anyway? Is it a place? Is it a poison? I found the title of the book was confusing and misleading. Maybe intentionally. Like the one above.


When the Deathly Hallows came out, I remember thinking, "Wow. I'm really tired and I can't believe all these people are standing here at midnight in this crowded bookstore in the middle of a tiny vacation town." The boys were so excited - I didn't think were actually going to stay awake that long after swimming and boating all day. :) When I was well-rested enough to think about what the Deathly Hallows might mean, I had no idea! But now I can pass the boys' Deathly Hallows quizzes! (So too bad they wouldn't take the O.W.L. last night.)

Anyway, LOVE your title and the supplementary photos of Nate and Ben (do they read your TRs?) Great detailed photos of Hogwarts - looks amazing! As always, it's a great combination of storytelling, photos and helpful planning info. I won't ask too many questions yet, because I know you have more on the way.

doccoc2002
07-22-2011, 11:50 AM
Love the O.W.L.
I need to see Part 2 once I watch Part 1...I refused to watch it cause I didn't want to be left hanging at the end!
So we decided to watch all the movies again & are now at Order of the Phoenix it has just been too hot to sit in & watch them. Maybe this weekend then il take them to see it this week.

Can't wait to see how I did on the OWLs. I think I did pretty well but a few got me thinking. Hahahaha

yakkin' yeti
07-22-2011, 12:18 PM
Love the O.W.L. -- couldn't even begin to guess on the Beans, though. Your pictures are great.

I'm a Disney addict, but we love WWOHP, and the front of the line passes for resort guests at Universal are the best. We've stayed at Portofino (so pretty! and we loved Sal's) and Royal Pacific. The rooms are definitely smaller than at Portofino (especially the bathroom), if that's a concern. We had a great time at Royal Pacific -- cheaper, closer, and more laid-back. And the grounds are gorgeous.

ddluvsdisney
07-22-2011, 01:37 PM
You're pictures inside the castle came out so much better than mine! I got a new camera for Christmas so I hope it takes as good of pics as yours did.
This TR is making me so excited about our trip and reminding me of stuff I need to get and do!
Looks like you had a great time. Did you post the answers to the O.W.L yet?
My oldest DS is not crazy for rollercoasters or extreme rides. He goes on RnR because he can't see what's going on LOL and he'll also go on EE but only once each trip, but my youngest DS is so psyched he is 54" this year. He can't wait to ride the Hulk and Dragon Challenge! He is fearless! His first time on EE he was only 6 and his hands were in the air on the high drop down while his big brother was screaming like a girl lol.

Curiouser&curiouser!
07-22-2011, 02:18 PM
Just found your trip report today! I am enjoying it.

I need the answers though! I didn't get every one, but I think I got enough to pass my O.W.L.S.!!

natebenma
07-22-2011, 03:12 PM
Just got back from the beach- me, my best friend, her sister and 8 boys from age 8 to 14. Plus we found one more 10 year old on the beach (friend of Ben's). Oh, boy!

Sorry I haven't posted the answers yet. I don't have an answer key so I need to type them up... But I did promise them today!


GREAT update & descriptions! I love your WWoHP photos! You're lucky you didn't have to use a locker there- it is a NIGHTMARE getting back & retrieving stuff from them after the ride.

Traveling light was one of the best things we did. I saw the "light" of traveling light on last year's Disney trip. I am a reformed pack mule!

Yes, I do remember wondering what the Deathly Hallows were. When I got to the part where they first mentioned them, I was like OHHHHHHHH, I'm going to get an answer soon! haha

Love the WWOHP update! When we went last summer we didn't have the luxury of getting into the park early so we ended up waiting about 45 minutes for the Forbidden Journey. I was a little hesistant about riding but am SO glad I ended up trying it anyway. There really is nothing like it. Amazing!

45 minutes is not too bad for a wait last summer (except in the greenhouse part). My neighbor went a week after it opened and I think she spent a total of 4 hours in line, between getting into WWoHP and the Forbidden Journey ride.


I'm loving your report, Dee! And I hope you don't mind my sending some of your party ideas to a friend with a HP obsessed daughter!

I appreciate your comments! Lots more to come.

Share away on the party tips. The only other things I can suggest are making wands out of pretzel rods with frosting, sprinkles, colored sugar, etc and making a miracle bubble solution in potions class using Dragon snot (glycerine), Unicorn pee (Dawn detergent) and water from Hogwarts Lagoon.

I specialize in Star Wars parties, too!

Love the O.W.L.
I need to see Part 2 once I watch Part 1...I refused to watch it cause I didn't want to be left hanging at the end!
So we decided to watch all the movies again & are now at Order of the Phoenix it has just been too hot to sit in & watch them. Maybe this weekend then il take them to see it this week.

Can't wait to see how I did on the OWLs. I think I did pretty well but a few got me thinking. Hahahaha

Enjoy the movies! I think I have only seen HBP twice and DH, P1 once.

Hopefully posting the O.W.L. answers soon.

When the Deathly Hallows came out, I remember thinking, "Wow. I'm really tired and I can't believe all these people are standing here at midnight in this crowded bookstore in the middle of a tiny vacation town." The boys were so excited - I didn't think were actually going to stay awake that long after swimming and boating all day. :) When I was well-rested enough to think about what the Deathly Hallows might mean, I had no idea! But now I can pass the boys' Deathly Hallows quizzes! (So too bad they wouldn't take the O.W.L. last night.)

Anyway, LOVE your title and the supplementary photos of Nate and Ben (do they read your TRs?) Great detailed photos of Hogwarts - looks amazing! As always, it's a great combination of storytelling, photos and helpful planning info. I won't ask too many questions yet, because I know you have more on the way.

Nate and I made it to about 11:30 pm at the book release party. Very late for us. A friend picked up our copy at midnight and I think I let her hang onto it for the day or two it took her to finish it.

Thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad you're enjoying the report!

I thought you would appreciate the title. Although I think you will appreciate it more and more (or maybe less and less) in a couple of years. Yikes!

The boys are not reading the reports. I would probably be in a bit of trouble if they did, but Mark is following along. :wave2:

Ben did preview my review of Seuss Landing, though, and he liked it.

Love the O.W.L. -- couldn't even begin to guess on the Beans, though. Your pictures are great.

I'm a Disney addict, but we love WWOHP, and the front of the line passes for resort guests at Universal are the best. We've stayed at Portofino (so pretty! and we loved Sal's) and Royal Pacific. The rooms are definitely smaller than at Portofino (especially the bathroom), if that's a concern. We had a great time at Royal Pacific -- cheaper, closer, and more laid-back. And the grounds are gorgeous.

I think I need to give the other two places test runs if we plan another trip to US/IoA. We discussed that future trips would probably be mostly Disney with a day or two on the dark side.

You're pictures inside the castle came out so much better than mine! I got a new camera for Christmas so I hope it takes as good of pics as yours did.
This TR is making me so excited about our trip and reminding me of stuff I need to get and do!
Looks like you had a great time. Did you post the answers to the O.W.L yet?
My oldest DS is not crazy for rollercoasters or extreme rides. He goes on RnR because he can't see what's going on LOL and he'll also go on EE but only once each trip, but my youngest DS is so psyched he is 54" this year. He can't wait to ride the Hulk and Dragon Challenge! He is fearless! His first time on EE he was only 6 and his hands were in the air on the high drop down while his big brother was screaming like a girl lol.

Thank you!!!

I love my Canon Powershot D10- takes really nice photos and the best thing is that the camera is waterproof and takes great pictures when I am snorkeling or at the beach or pool.

I didn't even cherry pick photos from later visits to castle! Those were all pictures taken that morning. But that is the one and only picture of the Mirror of Eresid that came out decent.

If you have learned nothing else so far, at least remember to bring a fanny pack!


Just found your trip report today! I am enjoying it.

I need the answers though! I didn't get every one, but I think I got enough to pass my O.W.L.S.!!

:welcome:

So glad you are joining us!

jenneth79
07-22-2011, 03:22 PM
Love the O.W.L.
I need to see Part 2 once I watch Part 1...I refused to watch it cause I didn't want to be left hanging at the end!
So we decided to watch all the movies again & are now at Order of the Phoenix it has just been too hot to sit in & watch them. Maybe this weekend then il take them to see it this week.

Can't wait to see how I did on the OWLs. I think I did pretty well but a few got me thinking. Hahahaha

I'm glad I'm not the only one! We just bought Part 1 on BluRay and plan on watching it this weekend, hopefully catching 2 in the theater next week.

And Dee, of COURSE we're sticking around for the rest of the reports - your TRs are great fun!:goodvibes

DrMomof3
07-22-2011, 04:58 PM
I did not get to go to the world premiere of the final Harry Potter movie. ;) My brother went and sent me emails. He said the after-party was "sick." I think that meant totally crazy! :lmao:
I'm dying to go to WWoHP. It pains me to wait but wait I will.

Amanda

mkoerner
07-22-2011, 07:38 PM
Love the pics of Harry Potter! I took two of my sons to the Harry Potter exhibition in Times Square today and it was very cool. Lots of authentic things from all of the movies. After Timmy and I looked at your pictures, we are even more excited to see WWOHP!! Thanks for the great report. Very helpful:)

natebenma
07-22-2011, 08:15 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one! We just bought Part 1 on BluRay and plan on watching it this weekend, hopefully catching 2 in the theater next week.

And Dee, of COURSE we're sticking around for the rest of the reports - your TRs are great fun!:goodvibes

Thank you!!! :flower3:

I did not get to go to the world premiere of the final Harry Potter movie. ;) My brother went and sent me emails. He said the after-party was "sick." I think that meant totally crazy! :lmao:
I'm dying to go to WWoHP. It pains me to wait but wait I will.

Amanda

Did you see the movie yet, though? Tough watching it with commoners, eh?

It will be a lot more fun and meaningful when you can share it with the kids!

Love the pics of Harry Potter! I took two of my sons to the Harry Potter exhibition in Times Square today and it was very cool. Lots of authentic things from all of the movies. After Timmy and I looked at your pictures, we are even more excited to see WWOHP!! Thanks for the great report. Very helpful:)

Nate and I saw the exhibit when it was at the Museum of Science in Boston. I have the souvenir photo book because they wouldn't let us take pictures!

natebenma
07-22-2011, 08:16 PM
Finally- O.W.L. answer key is up, post on page 7.

Sorry for the delay!

ddluvsdisney
07-22-2011, 09:18 PM
Well I only got about 45 pts. b/c I forgot Charlie, not Percy.
I only knew of Filch as a squib.
I knew I had the BB beans ques. wrong
As for the potions- I quessed wrong on pixie livers and rat spleen
I couldn't think of all the qualities of the houses.
It was fun to do with DS though Thanks!!! Not much he wants to do with mom ya know? But I know you feel my pain. I have to change his age to 14 on my sig. one of these days :)

AprilRenee
07-22-2011, 09:40 PM
DH and I got 75 (without doing the Bertie Bots or Potions questions)...I got lazy and didn't want to do those.

If you saw my post before...I retract my statement....I just checked my facts and I was wrong.

Marlton Mom
07-22-2011, 11:42 PM
Quote from NateBenMa "Why is Mr. Weasley’s flying Ford Angila here?"

Because it's his car! :p

~MM

:p

natebenma
07-23-2011, 05:33 AM
Well I only got about 45 pts. b/c I forgot Charlie, not Percy.
I only knew of Filch as a squib.
I knew I had the BB beans ques. wrong
As for the potions- I quessed wrong on pixie livers and rat spleen
I couldn't think of all the qualities of the houses.
It was fun to do with DS though Thanks!!! Not much he wants to do with mom ya know? But I know you feel my pain. I have to change his age to 14 on my sig. one of these days :)

Nice job!

I had to look up the house qualities yesterday to do my answer sheet.

I'm glad you were able to work on the owl with your son. I totally hear you on that one! Although one of the things Nate and I do together is pub trivia. My brother runs a trivia company and once and awhile we will go out and be part of a team.

I see you changed your signature!


DH and I got 75 (without doing the Bertie Bots or Potions questions)...I got lazy and didn't want to do those.

If you saw my post before...I retract my statement....I just checked my facts and I was wrong.

Excellent!

I didn't see your post, but now I'm curious...:rolleyes1


Quote from NateBenMa "Why is Mr. Weasley’s flying Ford Angila here?"

Because it's his car! :p

~MM

:p

No, but why is it here, at the Dragon Challenge from the Triwizard Tournament, instead of the Forbidden Forest (Flight of the Hippogriff). I remember the car in Chamber of Secrets and Half Blood Prince, but not Goblet of Fire. Totally threw me off!

mkoerner
07-23-2011, 07:21 AM
Sorry, just one more question. So are we allowed to take cameras onto the Forbiden Journey ride and just not bags?

natebenma
07-23-2011, 08:09 AM
Sorry, just one more question. So are we allowed to take cameras onto the Forbiden Journey ride and just not bags?

You can't be holding onto a camera while one the ride. It needs to go into a pocket (preferably one that zips or snaps closed) or in a fanny pack.

So if your camera is too large to be stowed away, you need to put it into a locker.

My camera is a point and shoot, and went into the fanny pack after the castle part and before the ride.

HockeyMomR
07-23-2011, 10:27 AM
Dee - thanks for the WW insight & pics. Glad to hear this is truly as impressive as your pics appear. DS19 is our household true Harry Potter fan as he started reading the books in elementary school. Think this is something he would enjoy.

Also, love the "eye roll" pics, been there seen that....this too will pass.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!

ARmom30
07-23-2011, 01:08 PM
Loved the WWoHP update. Thanks for sharing!

bellebookworm9
07-23-2011, 01:37 PM
Got an 80 on the O.W.L.:goodvibes Only guessed 245 beans, and got half of the potions ingredients (don't think you listed point values for those though!).

natebenma
07-23-2011, 06:21 PM
Dee - thanks for the WW insight & pics. Glad to hear this is truly as impressive as your pics appear. DS19 is our household true Harry Potter fan as he started reading the books in elementary school. Think this is something he would enjoy.

Also, love the "eye roll" pics, been there seen that....this too will pass.

Looking forward to the rest of your report!

Thanks! This is definitely a park to be enjoyed when the kids are older and into a little thrill-seeking. Nate was all in, but Ben (10) is still not so sure about a lot of the rides.


Loved the WWoHP update. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you!!!

Got an 80 on the O.W.L.:goodvibes Only guessed 245 beans, and got half of the potions ingredients (don't think you listed point values for those though!).

Sorry about that!!!

Forgot to add the points awarded. Let's say 5 points for each correctly identified disgusting substance.

Add 15 points to your score for the potions lab responses.

natebenma
07-24-2011, 09:44 AM
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth!

Next to WWoHP (and conveniently next to WWoHP), the attraction we were most looking forward to was Jurassic Park.

Michael Crichton’s tale of a theme park where prehistoric creatures are brought back from extinction and then things start to go terribly wrong is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s an exciting story full of action, wit and science.

Mark and I are not frequent movie goers, but we did attend Jurassic Park on its opening weekend. The movie is excellent, even though it did not include two of my favorite parts from the book (when they discovered the dinosaurs were reproducing by changing the way they programmed the animal count “Add one”, and the lysine contingency)

Ben has been a dino lover his whole life, and the Jurassic park movies are one of his favorite series. He draws dinosaurs, owns countless books and as my dad says “Ben has more dinosaurs (toys) than existed in the time of dinosaurs!”

So this was destined to be his favorite destination.

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Our first planned stop:

Jurassic Park River Adventure- Escape the jaws of a T-rex on a river raft.
(Note, you are the ones on the river raft. Not the dinosaur. Although that would be cool to see!)
Think AK's Dinosaur meets Splash Mountain

As we approached the ride, we noticed there was no line. ROAR! The TMs were shooing people away. No ETA on when the ride would reopen.

We changed course and went to Camp Jurassic (think AK’s Boneyard)- Run, climb and explore in this prehistoric playground. It is a huge play area/jungle gym area, thoughtfully shaded, and although this area is “too juvenile” for our kids, there are a couple of things to do here:


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Pteranodon Flyers- Soar through the air on a gliding roller coaster for kids.
Since Disney doesn’t have any skyrides anymore, the closest comparison would be a very very very low-rent Soarin’.


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This is a very quick ride and since the load capacity is very small, one can only ride it if accompanied by a guest under 54 inches tall. (ETA: sorry, 56 inches) An adult couple can’t ride this ride without borrowing a young child. Fortunately, we have one of those

“Kids”-Ellie Satler
“What are those?”-Dr. Grant
“Like adults, only smaller”-Ellie
Above dialogue from Jurassic Park

Mark and Ben took off, while Nate and I waited.


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When they came back, we decided it was time to get wet!

We were off to Toon Lagoon (Toon Town?)


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You’re gonna get wet, eh?

First up: Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls- Fun and hilarious flume ride.
This is essentially Splash Mountain in the setting of O! Canada, with corny visual jokes a la Jungle Boat.


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Here is where Universal Studios started to turn me into a rule breaker. They tried to separate me from my camera. Uh-Uh. Not gonna happen. Had my camera out, and I heard over the loudspeaker from the control room. “You have to put your camera away”

I think I mentioned earlier that I understand and respect the whole “No Flash Photography” dogma, but what is the harm in snapping away, flashless?

Oh, no, they didn’t stop me, but they did make me feel dirty!


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That was fun!!! You get wetter than you do on Splash.

We decided to go right back on again.

This time I kept my camera stowed away.

Until after we had passed the control booth. :rotfl:

Continued in Next Post

natebenma
07-24-2011, 10:03 AM
You’re going to get wetter, "A-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah!" (Popeye's laugh)

The next wet ride is conveniently also located in Toon Lagoon.

Unfortunately, when we went by, it wasn’t open yet, another 15 minutes.

We decide to go back once again, to see if JP River Adventure had opened yet. It hadn’t.

So we returned to Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges- Brave white-water rapids in this churning raft ride.

If I have to tell you which ride this is like… :rolleyes1


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Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right

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Nobody was in line for this ride when we finished up, so we asked the operators if we could go again, without going back to the start of the line, and they said fine, so we immediately boarded and rode again. When we finished, a couple of our fellow passengers asked us if we had been allowed to stay on the ride, and we told them yes and they should ask. They did, but DENIED!



Olive My Love (apologies to Led Zeppelin)

The next place we went was a place I would have skipped if I hadn’t read about in my guidebook:

Me Ship, The Olive- Multi-level ship playground is an ocean of fun.
Closest to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area, on the surface this attraction would seem too juvenile for my family.


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But here are two excellent reasons to climb aboard:

Amazing views from the top level!


Mythos restaurant

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Dragon Challenge

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Seuss Landing

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Rip Ride Rocket

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The Hulk

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And fun!

On the second level, you will find water cannons you can use to shoot water on the passengers of the Bilge Rat Barges. There is no charge for this!


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Let’s check Jurassic Park River Adventure again, shall we?

Nope. Still closed.

This reminded me of the scene in Jurassic Park when Ian Malcolm leans to face the camera in his electric tour car when the T-Rex doesn't appear- “Now eventually you might have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right? Hello?”



Next up: Stuck at the barrier to Station 9 ¾ (where I learn I am the victim of a time-turner) and some much needed magic

.

kate_wdw
07-24-2011, 11:05 AM
http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5148.jpg

[/B]

What a great picture! I also wish I had known about the great views from above the Me Ship, The Olive.

natebenma
07-24-2011, 11:50 AM
What a great picture! I also wish I had known about the great views from above the Me Ship, The Olive.

Don't tell anyone I have this! They told me to put down the camera here, too!!!


I definitely wanted to share the tip about the views from Me Ship, the Olive.

Did you find the picture spot as you first walk into IoA? Great view of WWoHP, Jurassic Park and the Lost Continent from another viewpoint. I'll be posting those when I get to Thursday. I totally missed the spot in the rush to WWoHP our first day.

AprilRenee
07-24-2011, 02:08 PM
Nice job!
I didn't see your post, but now I'm curious...:rolleyes1


Oh...my DH claimed that Harry wasn't a half blood as both parents were magical. We had Tonks down for our 3rd half blood instead of Harry. However, then I went to go check it and apparently if one of your parents was muggle born or a half blood...even if they were both magical, you are still a half blood. So we were wrong about Harry but still had the answer right (just different than the one you gave). :thumbsup2

natebenma
07-25-2011, 05:20 AM
Oh...my DH claimed that Harry wasn't a half blood as both parents were magical. We had Tonks down for our 3rd half blood instead of Harry. However, then I went to go check it and apparently if one of your parents was muggle born or a half blood...even if they were both magical, you are still a half blood. So we were wrong about Harry but still had the answer right (just different than the one you gave). :thumbsup2

Originally, I though Dumbledore's sister was a squib, but then my research showed she just chose not to use her magical powers.

I still have not seen DHP2, does the movie go into that storyline at all?

I think we are going Tuesday since the weather is supposed to be not so great here.

ddluvsdisney
07-25-2011, 09:59 AM
I saw the movie but don't think they go into detail about Dumbledore's sister.
It was really good though! Have fun.

Did you say you have to have a kid less than 54" w/ you on the pteronodon flyers ride?
Ben looks taller than 54"?
We didn't do that ride last year b/c line was too long and I was the only one who wanted to go on it. :(

natebenma
07-25-2011, 10:25 AM
I saw the movie but don't think they go into detail about Dumbledore's sister.
It was really good though! Have fun.

Did you say you have to have a kid less than 54" w/ you on the pteronodon flyers ride?
Ben looks taller than 54"?
We didn't do that ride last year b/c line was too long and I was the only one who wanted to go on it. :(

I rechecked my guide book- it looks like the limit is actually under 56 inches of height. Just measured Ben and he squeaks in under the limit at 55 inches! It would appear this year was our only chance to enjoy this ride!

ARmom30
07-25-2011, 12:13 PM
Originally, I though Dumbledore's sister was a squib, but then my research showed she just chose not to use her magical powers.

I still have not seen DHP2, does the movie go into that storyline at all?

I think we are going Tuesday since the weather is supposed to be not so great here.

I finally got to watch Part 2 last Friday night. Arianna is in the movie , but they don't explain what happened to her.

Great views from the the top of The Olive! :love:

jenneth79
07-25-2011, 12:23 PM
Sounds like a great day, minus the closed rides! Boooooo.....

Why do you think they are so strict about picture taking in general? Just worried about people dropping cameras or do they want to keep the rides in the "dark" so people will ride them to find out what they look like?:confused3

aprilisis
07-25-2011, 03:12 PM
You have a ton of great photos! I love that viewpoint from Olive's ship. Jurassic Park river adventure was closed when I was there in May, too. I was totally bummed out that I missed it. I love that ride!

natebenma
07-25-2011, 03:30 PM
I finally got to watch Part 2 last Friday night. Arianna is in the movie , but they don't explain what happened to her.

Great views from the the top of The Olive! :love:

Yes, you really get a great vantage point of the park up there. And the water cannons kept everyone else engaged while I was up there snapping away.

Sounds like a great day, minus the closed rides! Boooooo.....

Why do you think they are so strict about picture taking in general? Just worried about people dropping cameras or do they want to keep the rides in the "dark" so people will ride them to find out what they look like?:confused3

I don't know why they are so strict about the pictures, but I do know I have never been tempted to purchase a ride photo when I have a camera in front of my face...

You have a ton of great photos! I love that viewpoint from Olive's ship. Jurassic Park river adventure was closed when I was there in May, too. I was totally bummed out that I missed it. I love that ride!

We still have a few more visits to IoA planned for this trip, so maybe our luck will change! ;)

mickeystoontown
07-25-2011, 04:38 PM
I was a couple of updates behind. Your comparisons of the Universal attractions to the Disney attractions are helping me immensely. You know I'm a detail person so every little detail you post, I'm tucking away just in case we venture over to Universal next trip.

I had no idea that Universal restaurants would give you a AAA discount. Another good fact to tuck away for future reference.

Even though I have never read nor watched anything Harry Potter related, your pictures make me want to visit that section of the park so badly. I know that Hunter would absolutely love it.

Too bad that the Jurassic Park section wasn't open so that you could hit it up early in the day. I can hardly wait to see it all.

bubba's mom
07-25-2011, 06:58 PM
You had to know I'd come looking for your report ;)

I'm glad you didn't get lost on the shortcut. It is very easy, just explaining it is a little confusing....

I can't believe you got to sit next to the fish in Lombards! I've been trying to score a seat there for a couple of years! :laughing: Maybe someday....


Have I mentioned that the Front of the Line for resort guests really ROCKS???

We walked onto rides while others were waiting an hour or more, out in the heat for a 3 minute ride or attraction. Disney does a much better job airconditioning their queues.


Ahhh...but that is Universal's ploy to get you to stay onsite :thumbsup2 I go on vacation to have fun and relax...not stand in hour-long lines! :headache:

The Potter party you had looks awesome. Looks like you did a great job! I'm sure he loved it and everyone had a good time!

Sounds like you really enjoyed Universal. And, I'm glad. Universal gets a bad rap...mostly because "it's not Disney". But it's really a nice park with nice perks.

I look forward to more....

shannn
07-25-2011, 07:31 PM
It looks like y'all had a great time. It was actually chilly in march when we were there so we skipped all the wet rides. I think we missed some fun!!

WsPrincess
07-25-2011, 07:43 PM
I finally got to see the last Harry Potter movie and while I loved it, we saw it in 3D (which I am so glad we did), I am a book person. I just like the extra details in books! I am loving this trip report.

natebenma
07-25-2011, 08:43 PM
I was a couple of updates behind. Your comparisons of the Universal attractions to the Disney attractions are helping me immensely. You know I'm a detail person so every little detail you post, I'm tucking away just in case we venture over to Universal next trip.

I had no idea that Universal restaurants would give you a AAA discount. Another good fact to tuck away for future reference.

Even though I have never read nor watched anything Harry Potter related, your pictures make me want to visit that section of the park so badly. I know that Hunter would absolutely love it.

Too bad that the Jurassic Park section wasn't open so that you could hit it up early in the day. I can hardly wait to see it all.

I'm glad you are finding the comparisons helpful! At the end of my report, I will be posting my top Universal tips, so that may be something you would be interested in.

Has Hunter read the books or seen the movies? It is definitely an engrossing saga with amazing detail and imagination.

Just finished watching Deathly Hallows Part 1 tonight in preparation for FINALLY seeing DHP2 tomorrow.

You had to know I'd come looking for your report ;)

I'm glad you didn't get lost on the shortcut. It is very easy, just explaining it is a little confusing....

I can't believe you got to sit next to the fish in Lombards! I've been trying to score a seat there for a couple of years! :laughing: Maybe someday....

Welcome Barb!!!

I am so glad you came over from the "Dark Side" and posted here! Your shortcut from the Portofino to City Walk was great!!! But I was so afraid I wouldn't "get it" and I would lead my family astray. I took your directions and pasted in your photos into a one-page word document and we had no problems at all!

We loved the table at Lombards!!!


Ahhh...but that is Universal's ploy to get you to stay onsite :thumbsup2 I go on vacation to have fun and relax...not stand in hour-long lines! :headache:

The Potter party you had looks awesome. Looks like you did a great job! I'm sure he loved it and everyone had a good time!

Sounds like you really enjoyed Universal. And, I'm glad. Universal gets a bad rap...mostly because "it's not Disney". But it's really a nice park with nice perks.

I look forward to more....

Thanks!

It looks like y'all had a great time. It was actually chilly in march when we were there so we skipped all the wet rides. I think we missed some fun!!

I love the wet rides! It was plenty hot enough for us to enjoy them


I finally got to see the last Harry Potter movie and while I loved it, we saw it in 3D (which I am so glad we did), I am a book person. I just like the extra details in books! I am loving this trip report.

Yes, I found even watching DHP1 tonight, that I was explaining some of the backstory from the book to my family. I'm guessing the final movie doesn't delve into the big rivalry between Grindewald and Dumbledore and I'm sure there is a whole lot else that is missing. But everyone says the movie is amazing. Can't wait to see it tomorrow!

mnmrmustard
07-25-2011, 09:19 PM
Hiya! Jumping in late but really enjoyed catching up. The resort looked nice but I agree as far as not enjoying the "fancy" resorts as much as the "fun" resorts :thumbsup2

We're kind of doing tandem TRs even though my trip was back in April. I'm currently posting our transition from IoA to Universal proper on our second day at the Universal parks. I took LOADS of pics in Hogwarts in case you want to wax nostalgic again ;)

Love your sense of humor, nearly fell out of my chair on the "Olive my love" Zeppelin reference :rotfl2:

We felt the same way about Shrek, once was enough. And we had seen the T-2 experience back in 2002 and weren't drawn back in to see it again. Mummy ride rocks though, what a kick, aye?

Nice shots on Ripsaw Falls, we missed both of the big wet rides when we were there. I hope Jurassic Park opens up before y'all have to move on. That is the ride that I got seriously yelled at for having my camera out. "You, in the second row, put away the camera NOW!!!" What goobers :headache:

I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your adventures. And if you don't mind a little photo overload check out my TR :goodvibes

natebenma
07-26-2011, 05:52 AM
Hiya! Jumping in late but really enjoyed catching up. The resort looked nice but I agree as far as not enjoying the "fancy" resorts as much as the "fun" resorts :thumbsup2

We're kind of doing tandem TRs even though my trip was back in April. I'm currently posting our transition from IoA to Universal proper on our second day at the Universal parks. I took LOADS of pics in Hogwarts in case you want to wax nostalgic again ;)

Love your sense of humor, nearly fell out of my chair on the "Olive my love" Zeppelin reference :rotfl2:

We felt the same way about Shrek, once was enough. And we had seen the T-2 experience back in 2002 and weren't drawn back in to see it again. Mummy ride rocks though, what a kick, aye?

Nice shots on Ripsaw Falls, we missed both of the big wet rides when we were there. I hope Jurassic Park opens up before y'all have to move on. That is the ride that I got seriously yelled at for having my camera out. "You, in the second row, put away the camera NOW!!!" What goobers :headache:

I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your adventures. And if you don't mind a little photo overload check out my TR :goodvibes

Thanks for joining in! Not so late. We are still on the morning of our first full day and still have 3 more days of fun and photos.

I just apparated over to your report. AWESOME photos! You captured a lot of stuff I missed.

natebenma
07-26-2011, 02:47 PM
Stuck at the barrier to Platform 9 ¾ (where I learn I am the victim of a time-turner) and we get some much needed magic

At this point, we decided to split up. Ben wanted to explore more of Jurassic Park and Nate was in the mood for more thrills. Mark and Nate crossed over into WWoHP to ride on Dragon Challenge again. We plan on meeting up in 30-40 minutes.

I wanted to try out the Pteranodon Flyers, but instead we went down this path:


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http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5280.jpg


We happened upon a show- a naturalist gives a lecture/demonstration about the care of Sarah, a triceratops.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5274.jpg


After the show, one of the TMs offered to take a picture of Ben and me with Sarah.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5279.jpg


When that was over, we spent a little time at the JP Discovery Center. This is a great recreation of the welcome center from the movie.


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I think you get a dinos-eye view from this scope

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5292.jpg


Stuck at the barrier to Station 9 ¾ (where I learn I am the victim of a time-turner) and we get some much needed magic


Since it is getting close to the meeting time with Mark and Nate, Ben and I make our way over to the path to WWoHP. This is the point where things begin to go terribly wrong. There is a rope across the path, manned by TMs who are explaining that Harry Potter World is too full right now and we need a timed ticket to get in. I explain that the rest of my family is already there and I have plans to meet them.

I am directed to go to the place where you need to get the timed ticket. It is back where we just came from, past the Discovery Center and is really hard to find – I have to ask two different TMs how to get there.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5294.jpg


I have a choice of times so I pick 10:40 to 11:40, since my watch says it is 11:20.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5297.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5296.jpg


I return to the person at the gate, present my ticket, and she tells me it is not time yet. But it is 11:20, I insist! See my watch! No, it is only 10:20! Somehow my watch got set ahead an hour! It happened sometime before yesterday, because my times were off all day yesterday, too.

At this point I am in a panic. I am supposed to meet up with Mark and Nate NOW. I can’t get in for 20 more minutes. As I mentioned earlier, none of us has phones because we knew we were riding wet rides today. I explain to Ben why we can’t go yet and I start pacing back and forth nervously, as the woman at rope tells everyone who approaches about the timed tickets.

At one point, there is a break in the traffic, the woman takes pity on me and unlatches the rope and implores us to “Go! Quickly!”

Thanks, Inez!!! :hug:


Continued in next post

natebenma
07-26-2011, 02:50 PM
I give this lunch 3 Broomsticks

Back in the Wizarding World, I find Mark and Nate at our meeting spot (near the Public Conveniences, aka Rest Rooms). By the way, Moaning Myrtle does indeed haunt both the Mens and Ladies Rooms.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5311.jpg



In the time we have been apart, Mark and Nate rode Dragon Challenge- Blue and waited in line for 20 minutes here-


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5303.jpg


To purchase two chilled butterbeers.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5300.jpg



Who spots the 3 muggle mistakes???



1) You can purchase butterbeer at the Hog’s Head tavern, with minimal waiting
2) Get a 10% AAA discount at Hog’s Head or 3 Broomsticks
3) Should have got the frozen!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5309.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5306.jpg


It is only 10:30 in the morning (although it feels like 11:30!) and our breakfast was small, so we are all very hungry at this point. Don’t know what time the 3 Broomsticks opens for lunch, but we went in to check, and SCORE! It’s lunchtime!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5316.jpg

ETA: You order your food at a register (and you sign your credit card receipt with a quill pen- my DH loved this, but I didn't get a picture). After you get your food, a host/hostess helps you to find an empty table. This is a great system (Disney also uses this system at places like Pecos Bills and Pinocchio's Whatever House)


We ordered two fish and chips plates and one chicken/rib combo plate. We also got one frozen butterbeer, one regular and a pumpkin juice.



http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5318.jpg

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http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5323.jpg


The food was all pretty tasty. Even the corn was ok- we are typically corn snobs and only like fresh corn steamed at home. We never like corn in
restaurants- it is always too chewy, but this was edible.

We learned that we prefer the frozen butterbeer to the regular and we were pleasantly surprised that we liked the pumpkin juice (on tap). Pumpkin is an odd flavor in a drink, very savory, but we really liked it. Apparently there is a fizzy version too, but we never did try that.

I guess I was too occupied with the food to notice the shadows of the house elves and owls that go by on the walls and windows while you are eating.

We popped into Honeydukes for a quick look around, but man, was it crowded in there! Ben really wanted to purchase some Bertie Botts here, but there was no way I was going to wait in what was probably a 30-45 minute line to buy some candy! (which tastes like dirt and vomit)


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5328.jpg

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http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5334.jpg


That was probably the most disappointing thing about the Wizarding World. The shops had so much to see and such exquisite detail, but it was too darned crowded to appreciate it.


After lunch, we took another Flight of the Hippogriff, afterwards Hogsmeade was uber-crowded, so we decided to get out of there.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5347.jpg

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http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Wizarding%20World%20of%20Harry%20Potter/IMG_5305.jpg

Continued in next post

bubba's mom
07-26-2011, 02:54 PM
I had a feeling this year at WWoHP would still be just as crowded as it was last year :sad2:

While I'm sad we didn't go to UO this year, I'm not upset about missing early entry at WWoHP. I don't miss getting up at 6am on vacation at all!

Enjoying your report :thumbsup2

natebenma
07-26-2011, 02:58 PM
Rude Rude Fountain!

There’s not much we wanted to do in The Lost Continent. Well, I wanted to eat at Mythos, but since we just finished lunch, now was not the time.

There are two major attractions, Poseidon’s Fury (Special-effects filled adventure) and The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show (Spectacular live stunt show) but none of us were interested.

But Ben did want to visit the Mystic Fountain- Match wits with the talking squirting fountain. I envisioned an interactive experience like Crush’s Turtle Talk (which we have never done)

We found the fountain and Ben went over to talk to it. Nothing! It gave him the silent treatment.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_4982.jpg

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http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5382.jpg


So he started to walk away and the fountain squirted a jet of water at him. And laughed, I think. Ben was not pleased!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5383.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5384.jpg


We were out of there!

Next up: Tune in Thursday for some classic children's literature:

Oh, The Places we DIDN'T Go!!!

natebenma
07-26-2011, 03:52 PM
I had a feeling this year at WWoHP would still be just as crowded as it was last year :sad2:

While I'm sad we didn't go to UO this year, I'm not upset about missing early entry at WWoHP. I don't miss getting up at 6am on vacation at all!

Enjoying your report :thumbsup2

The early entry was fine, but after that, WW did get crazy. Not to mention that we were there during the Leaky Con fan convention and for the premier of the final movie (we didn't attend). You probably heard that the people who attended the premier at City Walk were invited to WWoHP from 3 am to 5 am after the movie. We were there just a couple of hours later!

I don't mind getting up early- we are all early risers- but I really didn't like missing out on the club lounge breakfast on the early mornings.

Thanks again for your kind feedback!!!

DrMomof3
07-26-2011, 05:25 PM
I'm really enjoying your updates! I wish the WWoHP weren't so tiny and crowded but maybe by the time we get there, the crowds will have died down. :lmao:

Amanda

mkoerner
07-26-2011, 06:03 PM
Thank you again for this report! We are learning so many great things about IOA. Can't wait!!

wdwgirl03
07-26-2011, 06:33 PM
More great Universal updates. My one sister prefers the frozen butterbeer too. I got the regular one and liked it but the frozen one is definitely not as sweet. I agree about the stores. I get that JK Rowling wanted to keep it authentic by having them be smaller but they were SO tiny! We had to wait in line half an hour to get into one of them! I remember feeling bad for the people who work there. I could not handle working in a place so crowded all day. :eek:

pixarmom
07-26-2011, 07:35 PM
Love the updates! WWoHP continues to look amazing and lunch looks like great fun! How frustrating with the disconnection at 10:20. We had phone reception problems in DHS once (shortly before an Ecpot lunch ADR) and I thought we were never going to reconnect. I ended up racing to guest services to change our ADR, but it was very frustrating. So glad a sympathetic TM (?) helped out at WWoHP in the end!

Now, I have to ask about the butterbeer - is it possible to describe it?

And Amanda, that's what's I'm counting on - low crowds by the time our pre-schooler is old enough for WWoHP!

P.S. I see Ben is wearing his t-shirt from your Barcelo stay!

bubba's mom
07-26-2011, 09:01 PM
Now, I have to ask about the butterbeer - is it possible to describe it?



sort of like cream soda...without the carbonation

saintstickets
07-26-2011, 09:08 PM
Thanks so much for all the WWoHP pics and reviews. We will be at IoA next May, 2012 so I hope it is not as crowded as you experienced. Can't wait to try a butterbeer!

natebenma
07-27-2011, 05:05 AM
I'm really enjoying your updates! I wish the WWoHP weren't so tiny and crowded but maybe by the time we get there, the crowds will have died down. :lmao:

Amanda

Last year was the opening, of course, and this summer was the release of the final movie, so I am sure those two things have helped to feed the crowds. I don't have a sense of what crowds are like at quieter times of the year, but I suspect they are much more manageable, like they are at Disney or anywhere else that attracts schoolaged children.

Thank you again for this report! We are learning so many great things about IOA. Can't wait!!

Great!

More great Universal updates. My one sister prefers the frozen butterbeer too. I got the regular one and liked it but the frozen one is definitely not as sweet. I agree about the stores. I get that JK Rowling wanted to keep it authentic by having them be smaller but they were SO tiny! We had to wait in line half an hour to get into one of them! I remember feeling bad for the people who work there. I could not handle working in a place so crowded all day. :eek:

Was your wait at Olivanders? Or even one of the other shops?

Love the updates! WWoHP continues to look amazing and lunch looks like great fun! How frustrating with the disconnection at 10:20. We had phone reception problems in DHS once (shortly before an Ecpot lunch ADR) and I thought we were never going to reconnect. I ended up racing to guest services to change our ADR, but it was very frustrating. So glad a sympathetic TM (?) helped out at WWoHP in the end!

Now, I have to ask about the butterbeer - is it possible to describe it?

And Amanda, that's what's I'm counting on - low crowds by the time our pre-schooler is old enough for WWoHP!

P.S. I see Ben is wearing his t-shirt from your Barcelo stay!

I get so incredibly jumpy when our family splits up. We had a problem at Atlantis once when Ben and I were separated from Mark and Nate for over an hour and we had no meeting plan. Finally we both figured we should return to where our towels were. Since then, having a plan B meeting spot has been important, but we were not good at Universal because we were so unfamiliar with the parks, where things are and how long things would take.

I need to write a letter to Uni complimenting Inez for helping us out, without revealing that she actually went against the rules to do so.

Thankfully, bubba's mom has chimed in with a description of the butterbeer. We ordered enough that I should actually be able to figure out the flavor and ingredients, but I really didn't get a chance to taste a lot of it. The boys were pretty territorial about the drinks. It is quite addictive.

I think I made butterbeer for Nate's birthday party and it did indeed involve butter, but I can't remember what else. Sure it is tucked away here somewhere. There are also a bunch of recipes floating around the Universal forums.

Good eyes- yes that is Ben's shirt from Xplor in the Mayan Riviera. It has a dinosaur in a hard hat, since this was going to be a "dino day". I was able to get him to wear a Del Sol color changing pirate shirt on our MK day without him knowing what was going on. Turtle shirt for Sea World.

Nah, I don't think I have a problem!

sort of like cream soda...without the carbonation

Frozen or on tap for your family?

Thanks so much for all the WWoHP pics and reviews. We will be at IoA next May, 2012 so I hope it is not as crowded as you experienced. Can't wait to try a butterbeer!

I'm definitely interested to hear about how the crowds differ throughout the year.

I can certainly tell you that our experience was that early was better than later.

bubba's mom
07-27-2011, 09:36 AM
ALWAYS frozen! :thumbsup2

doccoc2002
07-27-2011, 02:10 PM
Great updates...the food looed really good!
I can't wait to go to WWoHP...maybe we will try next year, the girls will be old/tall enough to go on a lot of the rides...minus our LO, but she can stay with Grammy while we go on them, since she doesn't like thrill rides...I guess I will have to see what rides a 3 year old can go on at US/IOA
Can't wait for more...really can't wait for the MK Surprise

ddluvsdisney
07-27-2011, 05:43 PM
Enjoying reading MORE!
Even though we were there last year I'm learning so much.
I don't remember seeing FROZEN Butterbeer last year (does anyone know if this is knew?)
I am definately getting it. The plain was REALLY sweet.
We ate at the 3 broomsticks for b-fast last year b/c it was included in our Harry Potter vaca. package. it was just ok
I wanted to try lunch this time. Can't wait to read more. :)

bubba's mom
07-27-2011, 07:48 PM
I don't remember seeing FROZEN Butterbeer last year (does anyone know if this is knew?)


Nope, not new. Always been there. Frozen is along the lines of a slushy...so much better than "cold".

HockeyMomR
07-27-2011, 08:05 PM
Another fun update....but those crowds, thank goodness you were able to reenter to meet with the rest of your family. Wow those crowds look like the crowds in fantasyland mid-day!

Look forward to reading more!

ProudMommyof2
07-27-2011, 08:24 PM
I can't believe I am soo late to your TR!! I once again bow to your awesome planning!

We can't wait to try Universal but it will have to wait 1-2 years.

natebenma
07-28-2011, 06:13 AM
ALWAYS frozen! :thumbsup2

:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Great updates...the food looed really good!
I can't wait to go to WWoHP...maybe we will try next year, the girls will be old/tall enough to go on a lot of the rides...minus our LO, but she can stay with Grammy while we go on them, since she doesn't like thrill rides...I guess I will have to see what rides a 3 year old can go on at US/IOA
Can't wait for more...really can't wait for the MK Surprise

I'm definitely glad we waited until we did to visit US/IoA. What a difference a few years make! Last year was the first time my oldest braved rides like RocknRoller Coaster and Expedition Everest, but this year he was a coaster junkie. Ben is not quite there yet.


Enjoying reading MORE!
Even though we were there last year I'm learning so much.
I don't remember seeing FROZEN Butterbeer last year (does anyone know if this is knew?)
I am definately getting it. The plain was REALLY sweet.
We ate at the 3 broomsticks for b-fast last year b/c it was included in our Harry Potter vaca. package. it was just ok
I wanted to try lunch this time. Can't wait to read more. :)

Lunch was good. I love that hostesses help seat you at tables. Forgot to add that. Going back to edit!

Nope, not new. Always been there. Frozen is along the lines of a slushy...so much better than "cold".


Thanks for supplying the answer! I didn't know.

Another fun update....but those crowds, thank goodness you were able to reenter to meet with the rest of your family. Wow those crowds look like the crowds in fantasyland mid-day!

Look forward to reading more!

It was seriously packed in those streets! I didn't think to check the wait time for Forbidden Journey and I didn't take a picture of the line at Ollivanders but I bet both of them were really scary!

I can't believe I am soo late to your TR!! I once again bow to your awesome planning!

We can't wait to try Universal but it will have to wait 1-2 years.

You're not so late! We are still in the morning of our first full day. 3 more days left.

No bowing- there's no way you will be able to keep up hunched over like that!

natebenma
07-28-2011, 06:15 AM
http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5388.jpg


After passing through this gate

All the lines stopped being straight


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This one’s like the “TTA”

The boys did not see it that way

A “People Mover” through the ABC’s

I’m quite afraid they were not pleased!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5401.jpg



One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish
Follow directions or you’ll be wet-ish
Just how wet do you get?
We didn’t go, so I don’t know yet.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5398.jpg



Cat in the Hat, I think it’s like Pooh
But the boys didn’t want to ride that one, too!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/catinthehat1.jpg
picture from internet



Why did we skip these?

What’s wrong with my fam?

Am I disappointed?

D*mn, I am!


I wouldn’t have minded trying out these rides, just Onceler!


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DrMomof3
07-28-2011, 07:14 AM
How frustrating that your boys wouldn't try the Seuss rides! And I'm sad that we won't get a full report on that part of the park. :lmao:

Amanda

doccoc2002
07-28-2011, 08:23 AM
Love it!!!! You can't go to Seuss Landing without doing some rhymes :rotfl:
Can't wait for more!!!

bubba's mom
07-28-2011, 08:39 AM
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish

Follow directions or you’ll be wet-ish

Just how wet do you get?

We didn’t go, so I don’t know yet.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5398.jpg


You didn't do Cat in the Hat?! Yes...it's sorta like Pooh. I was hoping you did it and could tell me if the 'spin' was there? What is wrong with those boys of yours? We always do all of them...well, except One Fish Two Fish if I'm in 'dry' clothes.

and, speaking of.... If you don't follow the directions, you'll get really wet. See those fish-like creatures sorta "standing up" on the far right edge of your picture (under the tree)? They are all around the fishes and squirt water at you from their mouth.

aprilisis
07-28-2011, 08:51 AM
Great updates & photos! I love your Suess rhymes. :)

ddluvsdisney
07-28-2011, 04:45 PM
I love your rhyming!! We didn't do much of Seuss Landing either.
Great update!!! Looking forward to the next :)

natebenma
07-28-2011, 07:22 PM
How frustrating that your boys wouldn't try the Seuss rides! And I'm sad that we won't get a full report on that part of the park. :lmao:

Amanda

Well, it had been a fairly busy day up to that point, and the boys were just not in the mood! I know you would have liked a review on Seussland!

Love it!!!! You can't go to Seuss Landing without doing some rhymes :rotfl:
Can't wait for more!!!

Suessland would be good for your kids, too! I knew that I had to go with the rhyming thing for this part of the park. I wrote the first two lines before our trip.

When I told my husband I wanted to read this post to him, he said "But we didn't do anything!" and I said "Exactly!"

You didn't do Cat in the Hat?! Yes...it's sorta like Pooh. I was hoping you did it and could tell me if the 'spin' was there? What is wrong with those boys of yours? We always do all of them...well, except One Fish Two Fish if I'm in 'dry' clothes.

and, speaking of.... If you don't follow the directions, you'll get really wet. See those fish-like creatures sorta "standing up" on the far right edge of your picture (under the tree)? They are all around the fishes and squirt water at you from their mouth.

We were in wet clothes, so we would have been all set. Plus it was around 1 or so in mid July. I'm sure we would have loved the fish!

I appreciate your commentary and additional information. I am, after all, a Universal noob! Well researched, maybe, your TRs helped with that!

BTW peeps- you have to check out Barb's "Mickeys Trip to the Darkside"- a photographic travelogue of our favorite mouse on his day off. Hilarious! Link is in her signature.

Great updates & photos! I love your Suess rhymes. :)

Thank you so much! It had to be that way.

I love your rhyming!! We didn't do much of Seuss Landing either.
Great update!!! Looking forward to the next :)

Merci! Since posting this- everyone is telling me how much fun Cat in the Hat is (I'm posting this over on the Universal TR forum, too), so I am bummed that we missed it.

I have to say, I'm a huge fan of MK's Peoplemover, but the High in the Sky trolley did not do it for me. There were a couple of places with nice views, but this is definitely not a must-do.

ddluvsdisney
07-28-2011, 07:39 PM
Well, it had been a fairly busy day up to that point, and the boys were just not in the mood! I know you would have liked a review on Seussland!



Suessland would be good for your kids, too! I knew that I had to go with the rhyming thing for this part of the park. I wrote the first two lines before our trip.

When I told my husband I wanted to read this post to him, he said "But we didn't do anything!" and I said "Exactly!"



We were in wet clothes, so we would have been all set. Plus it was around 1 or so in mid July. I'm sure we would have loved the fish!

I appreciate your commentary and additional information. I am, after all, a Universal noob! Well researched, maybe, your TRs helped with that!

BTW peeps- you have to check out Barb's "Mickeys Trip to the Darkside"- a photographic travelogue of our favorite mouse on his day off. Hilarious! Link is in her signature.



Thank you so much! It had to be that way.



Merci! Since posting this- everyone is telling me how much fun Cat in the Hat is (I'm posting this over on the Universal TR forum, too), so I am bummed that we missed it.

I have to say, I'm a huge fan of MK's Peoplemover, but the High in the Sky trolley did not do it for me. There were a couple of places with nice views, but this is definitely not a must-do.

I agree about the High in the Sky trolley. The Cat in the Hat was ok don't worry about missing it. I think it's so funny how you compared all the rides to Disney. I did exactly the same thing just too bad nothing really lived up to my expectations. I like Disney way better!!! :)
I'm not really a Universal fan but my kids and DH had fun last year.Don't get me wrong I do love the WWoHP. I could just leave everything else.
I wanted to just quote your last sentence not the whole post. sorry :confused3

Marlton Mom
07-28-2011, 07:52 PM
Do you ever wonder if the Universal people compare the Disney rides to the ones they know and love at Universal??

The must be totally bewildered at the Dole Whip and the Grey Goose slushie must be a revelation....

Marlton Mom

Marlton Mom
07-28-2011, 07:54 PM
Woo Hoo!!! 1000 posts :cheer2:

~~ MM

natebenma
07-28-2011, 07:57 PM
Woo Hoo!!! 1000 posts :cheer2:

~~ MM

Congrats!!!

Thanks for saving it for here!

ddluvsdisney
07-28-2011, 08:05 PM
Do you ever wonder if the Universal people compare the Disney rides to the ones they know and love at Universal??

The must be totally bewildered at the Dole Whip and the Grey Goose slushie must be a revelation....

Marlton Mom

You're absolutely right. I'm sure they compare as well. Dole Whip and Grey Goose slushie :rotfl:
To each their own :)

wahoostampingirl
07-28-2011, 09:59 PM
I just found your TR and I love it! We're Disney people, but we're making a one day trek over to Universal to visit WWoHP on our upcoming trip. I tried to convince my dh that we should fork over the extra $$ for a hotel room on site, but he wouldn't budge. So my guess is we'll be the hot people standing in line for an hour for everything. I think if the kids (both 10) like Universal, then we'll definitely stay in one of their hotels next time we go.

I loved your pics of Jurassic Park and Suessland. Those are the two areas that I'm most looking forward to when we're there.

natebenma
07-29-2011, 05:06 AM
I just found your TR and I love it! We're Disney people, but we're making a one day trek over to Universal to visit WWoHP on our upcoming trip. I tried to convince my dh that we should fork over the extra $$ for a hotel room on site, but he wouldn't budge. So my guess is we'll be the hot people standing in line for an hour for everything. I think if the kids (both 10) like Universal, then we'll definitely stay in one of their hotels next time we go.

I loved your pics of Jurassic Park and Suessland. Those are the two areas that I'm most looking forward to when we're there.

:welcome:

Hope you stick around! We still have a few more visits to IoA/US/WWoHP, so you'll see more wizards, more dinos, but no more squirting fishes!

I'll also try to help you survive (or maybe minimize) the lines.

And if you need a Disney fix during my report, that's coming up, too!

bubba's mom
07-29-2011, 08:34 AM
I just found your TR and I love it! We're Disney people, but we're making a one day trek over to Universal to visit WWoHP on our upcoming trip. I tried to convince my dh that we should fork over the extra $$ for a hotel room on site, but he wouldn't budge. So my guess is we'll be the hot people standing in line for an hour for everything. I think if the kids (both 10) like Universal, then we'll definitely stay in one of their hotels next time we go.

I loved your pics of Jurassic Park and Suessland. Those are the two areas that I'm most looking forward to when we're there.

When you get there, and if your DH is 'done' with standing in lines, you can always purchase an Express Pass Plus at some of the storest that sell them. They sell a limited # per day, so they can run out. But, depending when you are going, they can be expensive per person. That's why most just get a room because with a room it's unlimited Express Pass...when you purchase it, it's 1 Express per attraction. And if it's peak time, it can be *about the same price for a family of four vs a room.

Either way, still beats standing in line. Then you can tell your DH "toldja so" :teeth:

shannn
07-29-2011, 10:51 AM
To us, Butterbeer was definitely butterscotch flavored. And, the frozen was yummilicious!!

My kids loved Suess Landing~~ I think we were right at the edge of them being young enough to appreciate it. (They're 9 and 7) I'm so glad they did, because I loved the theming there! It was perfect.

natebenma
07-29-2011, 12:53 PM
When you get there, and if your DH is 'done' with standing in lines, you can always purchase an Express Pass Plus at some of the storest that sell them. They sell a limited # per day, so they can run out. But, depending when you are going, they can be expensive per person. That's why most just get a room because with a room it's unlimited Express Pass...when you purchase it, it's 1 Express per attraction. And if it's peak time, it can be *about the same price for a family of four vs a room.

Either way, still beats standing in line. Then you can tell your DH "toldja so" :teeth:

Good advice!!!

I think our next trip, whenever that will be, will be mostly Disney, but I think we would do a one-night stay at Universal, with about a day and a half at the parks. It's great that you get the line express privilige on both your checkin and checkout day, and the early entry. So US on checkin day, early entry to IoA on checkout day.

To us, Butterbeer was definitely butterscotch flavored. And, the frozen was yummilicious!!

My kids loved Suess Landing~~ I think we were right at the edge of them being young enough to appreciate it. (They're 9 and 7) I'm so glad they did, because I loved the theming there! It was perfect.

Frozen butterbeer is the way to go! Especially hit the spot in the heat.

I think we missed our window of opportunity in Seussland.

wahoostampingirl
07-29-2011, 05:28 PM
When you get there, and if your DH is 'done' with standing in lines, you can always purchase an Express Pass Plus at some of the storest that sell them. They sell a limited # per day, so they can run out. But, depending when you are going, they can be expensive per person. That's why most just get a room because with a room it's unlimited Express Pass...when you purchase it, it's 1 Express per attraction. And if it's peak time, it can be *about the same price for a family of four vs a room.

Either way, still beats standing in line. Then you can tell your DH "toldja so" :teeth:

Our vacation is the first 2 weeks of Aug. (we're leaving on Monday!) and those Express Pass Plus passes are expensive then, which is why I wanted to get the room. We're so used to not standing in line for anything at Disney, that I think the whole family will be complaining about it at Universal. Oh well, it will still be fun to see a new park and I bought the 3 day tickets that they were selling at Costco, so I'm sure we'll be back again next year and I WILL prevail on getting a Universal hotel room then.

natebenma
07-29-2011, 05:42 PM
Our vacation is the first 2 weeks of Aug. (we're leaving on Monday!) and those Express Pass Plus passes are expensive then, which is why I wanted to get the room. We're so used to not standing in line for anything at Disney, that I think the whole family will be complaining about it at Universal. Oh well, it will still be fun to see a new park and I bought the 3 day tickets that they were selling at Costco, so I'm sure we'll be back again next year and I WILL prevail on getting a Universal hotel room then.

Woo-hoo!!! You must be getting excited about the trip.

I sent you a PM. I am working on my Top 10 Universal Tips- Definitely in first draft stage, but you will be gone (and probably back) before I am ready to post this.

BC/YC Pool Noodles
07-29-2011, 07:26 PM
popcorn::

:hourglass

popcorn::

:hourglass :hourglass

popcorn::

:hourglass :hourglass :hourglass

popcorn::

:hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass

popcorn:: :faint:

natebenma
07-29-2011, 07:44 PM
:hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass :hourglass

popcorn:: :faint:

Impatient little noodles, aren't you!

I had an update yesterday!

One coming tomorrow morning, after I pack up and move the Y&BC thread.

BC/YC Pool Noodles
07-29-2011, 07:50 PM
Sorry.... That was Ramen. I left my computer on and he got busy with it. He keeps wanting to go to Universal but it's Disney Pools for us!

Thanks for the reports and good luck with your sewing project. I have no idea how much thread you have to move but you must be sewing something beautiful!

Pastina

natebenma
07-29-2011, 07:55 PM
Sorry.... That was Ramen. I left my computer on and he got busy with it. He keeps wanting to go to Universal but it's Disney Pools for us!

Thanks for the reports and good luck with your sewing project. I have no idea how much thread you have to move but you must be sewing something beautiful!

Pastina

:rotfl2:

bubba's mom
07-29-2011, 09:47 PM
Our vacation is the first 2 weeks of Aug. (we're leaving on Monday!) and those Express Pass Plus passes are expensive then, which is why I wanted to get the room. We're so used to not standing in line for anything at Disney, that I think the whole family will be complaining about it at Universal. Oh well, it will still be fun to see a new park and I bought the 3 day tickets that they were selling at Costco, so I'm sure we'll be back again next year and I WILL prevail on getting a Universal hotel room then.

oh I know Express Plus is expensive. What you could do is point it out to your DH (and be sure to point out ALL the people walking by you in the Express line) and see what he says about purchasing them. IF he does decide it's worth the $$, THEN you can pull the "toldya so" on the room bit. :teeth:

Have a good trip!

natebenma
07-30-2011, 09:20 AM
After a mostly uneventful visit to Seussland, we continued our journey to the park exit. We had one more attraction to tackle before leaving.

We headed to Marvel Superhero Island.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6713.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5377.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6346.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6714.jpg




Dr. Doom’s Fearfall (Takes fear to new heights- 150 ft. straight up) vs. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman (Swing above the streets in 3-D) vs. The Incredible Hulk Coaster (Feel the rage on a high-speed roller coaster rampage).


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6347.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5420.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6335.jpg


Which character won out???


Spiderman!


Before we ride, I am going to share with you a joke that Nate made up when he was around 6 or 7 years old:

Q: How does Spiderman know that it is time to go to the bathroom?

A: His Spidey senses start “tinkling”

:rotfl: :rotfl2: :rotfl:


It is kind of hard to compare to an existing Disney ride- it is most like Forbidden Journey in this park. It is a moving (as in you are in motion), but not rollercoaster ride, where you are immersed in the 3-D action as Spiderman battles Dr. Octopus and his Sinister Syndicate who are using an antigravity gun to make off with the Statue of Liberty and other NYC landmarks.

This was a fun ride- very visually stimulating.

After Spiderman, we continued made a couple of stops before exiting the park:


We explored the gift shop.

School supplies:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5426.jpg


Monster book of monsters:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6725.jpg


Wands:

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5427.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6724.jpg


We purchased the Bertie Botts we had promised Ben, a chocolate frog for Nate (Helga Hufflepuff was the Famous Wizard Card inside) and a shirt for me and had these items sent back to the room:


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6574.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6576.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6802.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6803.jpg


We also decided now would be a good time to exchange our paper tickets for a more durable material since we would be using them for a couple more days, so we stopped at Guest Services near the exit.

A lot of backtracking and some disappointment this morning, along with some downright rhyming rebellion, but overall, we had a really nice first visit to IoA. The Wizarding World was wonderful, and the water rides we tried were fun and very refreshing on a hot July morning.

We still had a few new things to conquer here- The Hulk, and hopefully, Dinosaurs!


On the way back to the Portofino, we stopped at City Walk for a little shopping at NBA City.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6732.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5431.jpg


Look, it’s a Hidden Mickey!

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6470.jpg


Unfortunately, nobody told me that NBA stands for Nate Blows Allowance!

Dwayne Wade El Heat Shirt- $65, no AAA discount

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_5435.jpg

NBA City Orlando T-Shirt, around $12, ($1.20 discount)- sorry, no picture.


We took the boat from City Walk to the Portofino, then stopped at the club lounge for some cold drinks and snacks and took a break for a couple of hours.


I went for a quick swim


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5470.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5475.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Portofino%20Bay%20Resort%20July%202011/IMG_5478.jpg


The boys relaxed in the room as we rested up because


Next up: We have a “BIG” date this afternoon

Bethannk511
07-30-2011, 12:08 PM
Subbing!!

Loving your report so far!! Can you tell me more about the medicine you took for the motion sickness? When i cruise, I use the TransDerm patch which I have more of so was thinking of using for the next time I got to US and IOA but, a pill would be nice!!

bubba's mom
07-30-2011, 03:26 PM
:charac4: = Best. Ride. EVER!

ProudMommyof2
07-30-2011, 07:44 PM
Great update! It kills me when the kids blow their money on something they will soon outgrow.
I hope you make it to Dinosaur.

doccoc2002
07-31-2011, 01:25 AM
Look, it’s a Hidden Mickey!

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Orlando%20July%202011/IMG_6470.jpg




:rotfl::rotfl2:
I wonder if they know that:rotfl2:

burly
07-31-2011, 02:18 AM
I like it. Just read all of it. Looking forward to more.:surfweb:


KIM

natebenma
07-31-2011, 05:28 AM
Subbing!!

Loving your report so far!! Can you tell me more about the medicine you took for the motion sickness? When i cruise, I use the TransDerm patch which I have more of so was thinking of using for the next time I got to US and IOA but, a pill would be nice!!

:welcome:

Bonine is what we used to prevent motion sickness. It is sold over-the-counter and the long medical name is:

Meclizine Hydrochlroide 25 mg . Antiemetic (anti-nausea)

I purchased the Raspberry Flavored Chewable Once a Day Protection

Unlike Dramamine, it does not induce drowsiness

****************************************

My nausea is mostly on spinny rides- tea cups, NO WAY!, Astro-Orbitors at MK did me in one year and even Dumbo scares me! I didn't know how I would react to the moving, simulator rides (Forbidden Journey, Spiderman, Simpsons), but I was fine with the Bonine

Rollercoasters are never really an issue with me.

HTH

natebenma
07-31-2011, 05:34 AM
:charac4: = Best. Ride. EVER!

And just think what it will be like when they revamp the movie quality next year!

Great update! It kills me when the kids blow their money on something they will soon outgrow.
I hope you make it to Dinosaur.

Nate is at an age where he is very particular about what he wears. A lot of his wardrobe consists of sports shirts- NFL (players from different teams) and NBA (mostly Celtics). First thing he said when I told him Chad OchoCinco (sp?) was traded to the Patriots: "I want the shirt"

We still have two more visits to IoA (actually, Nate and I have 3), so I think we will be ok! ;)



:rotfl::rotfl2:
I wonder if they know that:rotfl2:

Even at the "dark side" I'm on duty!!!

I like it. Just read all of it. Looking forward to more.:surfweb:


KIM

:welcome:

Thanks so much for your comments!

I'll post another update tomorrow morning.

Bethannk511
07-31-2011, 09:29 AM
:welcome:

Bonine is what we used to prevent motion sickness. It is sold over-the-counter and the long medical name is:

Meclizine Hydrochlroide 25 mg . Antiemetic (anti-nausea)

I purchased the Raspberry Flavored Chewable Once a Day Protection

Unlike Dramamine, it does not induce drowsiness

****************************************

My nausea is mostly on spinny rides- tea cups, NO WAY!, Astro-Orbitors at MK did me in one year and even Dumbo scares me! I didn't know how I would react to the moving, simulator rides (Forbidden Journey, Spiderman, Simpsons), but I was fine with the Bonine

Rollercoasters are never really an issue with me.

HTH

Great! Thanks so much!! I'm a spinning ride avoider myself. I remember vividly fighting with my father (who also hates spinning rides) about riding the tea cups with my sister as children because she insisted and i wouldn't!! I went on Mission:Space when it first opened, not knowing what it was. Needless to say, I was bed ridden the rest of the day!!!

Can't wait to try this stuff!! Thank you!!!

jmamom
07-31-2011, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the tip on Bonine. My 10 year old is getting motion sickness a lot lately - going to have to get some for our trip!

ddluvsdisney
07-31-2011, 11:01 AM
:welcome:

Bonine is what we used to prevent motion sickness. It is sold over-the-counter and the long medical name is:

Meclizine Hydrochlroide 25 mg . Antiemetic (anti-nausea)

I purchased the Raspberry Flavored Chewable Once a Day Protection

Unlike Dramamine, it does not induce drowsiness

****************************************

My nausea is mostly on spinny rides- tea cups, NO WAY!, Astro-Orbitors at MK did me in one year and even Dumbo scares me! I didn't know how I would react to the moving, simulator rides (Forbidden Journey, Spiderman, Simpsons), but I was fine with the Bonine

Rollercoasters are never really an issue with me.

HTH
I'm gonna try taking Bonine this year too. That was one of the reasons I didn't like Universal that much- b/c of all the simulation rides I had to close my eyes on quite a few. And sat out on the kids & DH second ride on Spiderman.
I love rollercoaters but anything that moves and has a screen in front of me- forget it!
Thanks again for the great tip :)

JanetMom
07-31-2011, 03:15 PM
:surfweb:

(like MM, I'm anxious for more :thanks:)

natebenma
07-31-2011, 08:16 PM
Great! Thanks so much!! I'm a spinning ride avoider myself. I remember vividly fighting with my father (who also hates spinning rides) about riding the tea cups with my sister as children because she insisted and i wouldn't!! I went on Mission:Space when it first opened, not knowing what it was. Needless to say, I was bed ridden the rest of the day!!!

Can't wait to try this stuff!! Thank you!!!

I'm ok on M:S Green. I won't try orange.

My husband and Ben tried M:S Orange last July. When they came off the ride and met us in the waiting area, Ben had a huge smile on his face

"I puked! 3 times!"

Gotta love boys (he did successfully utilize the barf bag on the ride)


Thanks for the tip on Bonine. My 10 year old is getting motion sickness a lot lately - going to have to get some for our trip!

Hope it helps!

I'm gonna try taking Bonine this year too. That was one of the reasons I didn't like Universal that much- b/c of all the simulation rides I had to close my eyes on quite a few. And sat out on the kids & DH second ride on Spiderman.
I love rollercoaters but anything that moves and has a screen in front of me- forget it!
Thanks again for the great tip :)

Again, hope the Bonine works well for you!

I feel like a pharmacist!

:surfweb:

(like MM, I'm anxious for more :thanks:)

Thanks so much! I'll work on an update for tomorrow morning.

DrMomof3
07-31-2011, 09:56 PM
I'm super jealous of your Gryffindor shirt! So cute!!!
I've heard Spiderman is a cool ride.

Amanda

pixarmom
07-31-2011, 11:31 PM
I LOVE YOUR HP SHIRT!!!!!! That's a great find. So festive and so cute!

As for Seuss, after seeing the photo of Nate and Ben, our boys have concluded that part of Universal must be "lame." So my chances of experiencing those rides is probably pretty low. Of course, they have far more interest in Marvel and your most recent update. :)

As for Bertie Botts, I'm happy we ran out. We went to a premier party for Part I of Deathly Hallows and the gift bag included stuff like a HP scarf, wand, chocolate somethings (those were great!), and the Bertie Botts. Boys LOVED them.

Again, and as always, great report!

natebenma
08-01-2011, 05:41 AM
I'm super jealous of your Gryffindor shirt! So cute!!!
I've heard Spiderman is a cool ride.

Amanda

I like the shirt, too. It is more like a football style (well, Quiddich), so it is "fancier" than a t-shirt. I wore it when I finally went to see DHP2 and to a theatre group meeting, to make everyone jealous!!!

Spiderman was fun!

I LOVE YOUR HP SHIRT!!!!!! That's a great find. So festive and so cute!

As for Seuss, after seeing the photo of Nate and Ben, our boys have concluded that part of Universal must be "lame." So my chances of experiencing those rides is probably pretty low. Of course, they have far more interest in Marvel and your most recent update. :)

As for Bertie Botts, I'm happy we ran out. We went to a premier party for Part I of Deathly Hallows and the gift bag included stuff like a HP scarf, wand, chocolate somethings (those were great!), and the Bertie Botts. Boys LOVED them.

Again, and as always, great report!

We are not souvenir shoppers, but I really loved the shirt when I saw it. It was not inexpensive ($32, but there was a AAA discount), but I can see myself wearing it, so I splurged! I don't think Mark got anything for himself.

So is it not "lame" to say lame? Everyone who posted here and on my Universal report says how much fun Cat in the Hat is! Do they like the Pooh ride? The High in the Sky Trolley was kind of lame, but the views of Seussland and some of the other parts of the park were really good.

I didn't get to try any Bertie Botts. I think I would have enjoyed the black pepper. They do give you a chart identifying the flavours, so that is good.

LovintheLodge
08-01-2011, 07:25 AM
Hi Dee! When we went to US/IOA back in 2005 my kids were 12 and 14. The only thing we did in Seuss land was the Cat in the Hat ride...which was cute and yes similar to Pooh and other Fantasyland rides. The only thing I didn't like was the spinning at the end. The Trolly wasn't opened yet...

Kerry

natebenma
08-01-2011, 07:58 AM
Hi Dee! When we went to US/IOA back in 2005 my kids were 12 and 14. The only thing we did in Seuss land was the Cat in the Hat ride...which was cute and yes similar to Pooh and other Fantasyland rides. The only thing I didn't like was the spinning at the end. The Trolly wasn't opened yet...

Kerry

Thanks! How bad was the spinning? Maybe it is not such a bad thing that we skipped it.

Kerry- just saw your PM- I will e-mail you.

natebenma
08-01-2011, 07:59 AM
Ben is practically a marine biologist.

OK, I exaggerate a bit, but he loves marine animals and knows a LOT about sharks, whales, turtles and more. We are fortunate to live near the seacoast and our family has grown up tidepooling, whalewatching and attending awesome monthly marine programs at a local Audubon center. My dad has volunteered as a marine docent, going into schools and working at a different science center on the seacoast in NH and we have learned a lot from him.

Don’t let us catch you calling that Sea Star a “Starfish”!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5493.jpg


We have tons of books on ocean life and Ben’s fascination with creatures of the deep almost rivals his devotion to dinosaurs.

We had not visited Sea World since a one-day visit in 2004, so as part of our “Other Orlando” trip, this was high on our list. As I mentioned in my intro, we purchased Buy 1 day, Get 1 day free tickets (at child prices) before our trip.

We decided that the best way to see Sea World was in two half-day visits. Today our focus was to see the Shamu show, since the late afternoon/evening shows tend to be less crowded, and then hit rides and exhibits another morning.

We took a taxi cab from Portofino Bay Resort to Sea World, $19 plus tip. We arrived around 4 PM. Shamu show was scheduled for 5:30, so we had a time to enjoy a few exhibits first.

We started out at the Ray aquarium- this reminded us a lot of The DIG at Atlantis.


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5486.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5487.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5489.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5490.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5495.jpg


Aren’t these Sea Dragons the coolest things!

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5497.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5498.jpg

http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5499.jpg


Someone had a long day!

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As we started out towards Shamu Stadium and we encountered the Shark Encounter. The shark tunnel was super crowded, so we just looked at a couple of exhibits inside then went to the outside viewing pools.


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Continued in Next Post

natebenma
08-01-2011, 08:01 AM
It was time to get seats for the show. It was hot, so we decided to purchase water from a cart before going in. There were two families ahead of us in line, and I swear, it took 15 minutes for us to get our water!!! Sea World has some sort of refillable drink thing going on, and I don’t know how it possibly took that long to wait on so few people, but it did! When we arrived at the stadium, we found drink and snack concessions with no lines. D’OH!

We found seats right over one of the entrance ramps, 2nd level, almost center of the stadium. They were really good seats since nobody could sit in front of us, but there was a seating rail that got in the way of our views, just a little.


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Before the show, the screen showed different cartoon sea animals: a sea horse, pufferfish, hermit crab and octopus and you could text your name to a number listed with each animal and your name would be posted on the board during the preshow. Nate texted a couple of times using the names (Nate Ben)- which we saw and (Walt Disney)-which never did appear on screen. Saw a couple of (Harry Potters) and (Voldemorts) listed though.


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The Shamu show was recently changed, in April I think, to One Ocean

The set is gorgeous, and during the performance there are beautiful ocean and underwater scenes showing while the Orcas are performing.

It is AMAZING what creatures that big can do!


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Towards the end of the show, the narration discussed how it is important for everyone to do what we can to protect the oceans. I deeply love and care about the Earth and her beaches and oceans, so I am very pleased to support this cause. But I found it ironic that it was difficult to find recycling disposal containers at Sea World. Just sayin’! They do have a bin as you exit the park where you can recycle your park maps, but throughout our stay at the park, it was difficult to find a place to recycle our bottles.


Right across from Shamu stadium is the Wild Arctic exhibit. You can take a simulated helicopter ride (things go wrong during your trip, a la Mission:Space at EPCOT). Things actually had gone wrong in the preshow for me- there are subtitles when the helicopter pilot gives flight instructions and explains how they want to “insure” (not ensure) our safety. Sea World needs proofreaders.

The helicopter ride was fun, though, and you are let off at an Arctic Sea Base


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There is a wall of ”ice” that feels cold and wet when you touch it. Very neat!

Don’t stick your tongue on that!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5591.jpg


There are Polar Bears and Beluga Whales on exhibit. I don’t have great pictures of the Polar Bear, but this was taken right before he/she rolled over. Very cool!


http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu294/natebenma/Sea%20World%202011/IMG_5598.jpg


There is also a scale you and your family can climb on and compare your weight to things like Polar Bears and Walruses. I won’t tell you who was on the scale or how we compared!


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We exited the Arctic exhibit, and that’s when things got very WET!!!

Before leaving the Portofino that afternoon, we had the Great Poncho Debate. Should we take them or not? Sky was beautiful and blue with very few clouds. Mark thought it would be a good idea to pack a backpack and bring the ponchos. I didn’t think they were necessary.

Mark won that discussion.

Phew!!!


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Nate refused to wear his poncho. (Lame?)

The worst part of the thunderstorm was that a bunch of routes to the exits were closed off because they didn’t want us travelling on bridges over water. It was a long way out of the park.

It was around 6:30, and at this point we really needed to get some food. But all of the places at Sea World were mob scenes with people trying to duck out of the storm.

We checked at Sharks Underwater Grill, a restaurant adjacent to the viewing for the shark tunnel- think Coral Reef. The wait here was over an hour.

Where should we eat???

I had what I thought was a brilliant idea! Instead of heading back to our resort, let’s go to City Walk. There are a bunch of restaurants there!

Next up: Dinner Panda-monium

bubba's mom
08-01-2011, 08:42 AM
So is it not "lame" to say lame? Everyone who posted here and on my Universal report says how much fun Cat in the Hat is! Do they like the Pooh ride? The High in the Sky Trolley was kind of lame, but the views of Seussland and some of the other parts of the park were really good.


unless you are in elementary school, usually High in the Sky Trolley is boring. Most adults (older teens) go for the views from up high. I think Cat in the Hat is fun...it follows the storyline of the book.

Thanks! How bad was the spinning? Maybe it is not such a bad thing that we skipped it.


The spinning was taken out last year when there was an incident. (that's why I was hoping you were on it...so I could find out if they put it back in) Parents were not paying attention to their small child on the ride, and at the spin part, the kid went flying out of the ride vehicle. :sad2: So, one option was to take the spin out. Which, imo, totally ruined it. The spin comes at a part where you're in a 'neon' room and it chaos because Cat has wrecked the house and Mom is coming! The spin added to the fun of the chaos. And, it was only 2 or 3 spins and that was it. Only takes 1 to ruin it for everybody :sad2:

I'm liking the SeaWorld review. It's someplace we've never been (yet...on the bucket list) but one day we'll get there. Since my DH doesn't like standing in lines, I'm guessing it'll be once the boy moves on to college and we can travel off summer-season. ;)

natebenma
08-01-2011, 09:10 AM
unless you are in elementary school, usually High in the Sky Trolley is boring. Most adults (older teens) go for the views from up high. I think Cat in the Hat is fun...it follows the storyline of the book.



The spinning was taken out last year when there was an incident. (that's why I was hoping you were on it...so I could find out if they put it back in) Parents were not paying attention to their small child on the ride, and at the spin part, the kid went flying out of the ride vehicle. :sad2: So, one option was to take the spin out. Which, imo, totally ruined it. The spin comes at a part where you're in a 'neon' room and it chaos because Cat has wrecked the house and Mom is coming! The spin added to the fun of the chaos. And, it was only 2 or 3 spins and that was it. Only takes 1 to ruin it for everybody :sad2:


I'm liking the SeaWorld review. It's someplace we've never been (yet...on the bucket list) but one day we'll get there. Since my DH doesn't like standing in lines, I'm guessing it'll be once the boy moves on to college and we can travel off summer-season. ;)

I did not know that about Cat in the Hat. That is a shame! I only started following the Universal forums a few months ago.

I just learned one of my DIS friends will be going to Universal/IoA soon- if she checks out Cat in the Hat, I will report back.

I'm glad we went to Sea World- I will have more to report from the morning we were there (Thursday of our visit). It is definitely not an "every year" sort of park. Nate loved the coasters there, though, Manta and Kraken.

We are also somewhat jaded having visited Atlantis in the Bahamas for 5 nights in 2009. That place is INCREDIBLE!!!

eandesmom
08-01-2011, 11:41 AM
I'm here! Now off to catch up :)

eandesmom
08-01-2011, 01:12 PM
[SIZE="3"]It was around 2:00. Or maybe 1:00. More about that later. No matter what the time, we were a pretty hungry quartet.

We walked into Lombard’s and were seated immediately.

Right here:

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Have I mentioned that the Front of the Line for resort guests really ROCKS???

.

You guys did a TON at Universal! I agree with you about Shrek, by the time we saw it we were so over 3D things it wasn't even funny. Same thing with the Jimmy Neutron ride. Clearly they made such an impression I forgot to even mention them in my TR. That lunch looks good, I wish we'd gone there instead of the Italian place. FOTLP pass saves a trip if you ask me, if you are going during peak times like you did.

Here is your Entrance Exam for Hogwarts.

Can you pass this O.W.L. ???

Warning: the following post is for serious Harry Potter fans only (Potterheads? Griffindorks?)

Predictably, the Ravenclaws had the highest score on the O.W.L.

I have a funny story about this. When we wre there last summer, Eric picked up a hat for his best friend, a Gryffindor hat. Turns out Raven claw is his favorite house. Both Eric and his friend are in a gifted kids program, called Highly Capable. His friends comment was "Ravenclaw is the hi-cap of Hogwarts"

:rotfl:


[SIZE="3"]Do you remember when the book “Deathly Hallows” came out and you were thinking, What the h*ll are “Deathly Hallows” anyway? Is it a place? Is it a poison? I found the title of the book was confusing and misleading. Maybe intentionally. Like the one above.

LOVE the title! that's a riot. Your crowds look similar to what we say on our first day at IOA but never ran into the timed entry issue, how stressful. You are SUCH a rule breaker with the photos!!!!!!!!!!!! Traveling light makes it so much easier though.

I don't know about you but I find myself troubled that all the Hallows still are out there. I know in the movie he breaks the wand but that's not what happens in the book....

Interesting that you decided to do Sea World in 2 parts. Is it that close to Universal?

I still can't get over the fact you didn't eat with Jimmy.

mickeystoontown
08-01-2011, 01:37 PM
I was a couple of updates behind. You had me smiling with your Dr. Seuss type rhymes. Too bad the boys didn't want to check out more of Seuss Landing but I can kinda understand why since it looked like it was geared more towards younger kids.

Oh the pictures of Sea World brought back memories of our visit there. I love love love Sea World but John is just so-so about it so we haven't been back. Your pictures of the whales are great!

natebenma
08-01-2011, 03:40 PM
:welcome:

So glad to have you here!


You guys did a TON at Universal! I agree with you about Shrek, by the time we saw it we were so over 3D things it wasn't even funny. Same thing with the Jimmy Neutron ride. Clearly they made such an impression I forgot to even mention them in my TR. That lunch looks good, I wish we'd gone there instead of the Italian place. FOTLP pass saves a trip if you ask me, if you are going during peak times like you did.

We didn't even bother with Jimmy Neutron, although it was open while we were there (it is now "seasonal" and is going to be converted to a Despicable Me attraction).

The very funny thing about lunch is that I was looking for the Italian place you ate at, based on the description in your post! But I didn't know exactly where it was, and we were HUNGRY and had to eat NOW! We were really pleased with the meal.

I have a funny story about this. When we wre there last summer, Eric picked up a hat for his best friend, a Gryffindor hat. Turns out Raven claw is his favorite house. Both Eric and his friend are in a gifted kids program, called Highly Capable. His friends comment was "Ravenclaw is the hi-cap of Hogwarts"

:rotfl:


That is funny!


LOVE the title! that's a riot. Your crowds look similar to what we say on our first day at IOA but never ran into the timed entry issue, how stressful. You are SUCH a rule breaker with the photos!!!!!!!!!!!! Traveling light makes it so much easier though.

We had the release of DHP2 while we were there, and a fan convention, so that may have contributed to the crowds.


I don't know about you but I find myself troubled that all the Hallows still are out there. I know in the movie he breaks the wand but that's not what happens in the book....

Spoiler Alert:


I hate that Harry didn't repair his wand with the Elder wand in the movie.


Interesting that you decided to do Sea World in 2 parts. Is it that close to Universal?

No, Sea World is not that close, about 20 minutes. I think trying to squeeze it all in one day would have been too much, especially trying to fit in the shows. But it was costly getting to and from- $20-ish per leg of travel, so $80 overall for our two visits.


I still can't get over the fact you didn't eat with Jimmy.



I know, I'm still not sure how that happened (didn't happen?), but that will be covered in my very next chapter!

natebenma
08-01-2011, 03:44 PM
I was a couple of updates behind. You had me smiling with your Dr. Seuss type rhymes. Too bad the boys didn't want to check out more of Seuss Landing but I can kinda understand why since it looked like it was geared more towards younger kids.

Oh the pictures of Sea World brought back memories of our visit there. I love love love Sea World but John is just so-so about it so we haven't been back. Your pictures of the whales are great!

Glad you enjoyed my rhymes. I had fun writing them and it really captured what went down in Seussland!

Thanks for the nice comments about the pictures. In the past my photos of the Shamu show have not come out well at all, but we had a great location, and my camera performed really well.

eandesmom
08-01-2011, 04:48 PM
:welcome:

So glad to have you here!


I know, I'm still not sure how that happened (didn't happen?), but that will be covered in my very next chapter!

I'm with you on the spoiler, really left it in an odd spot they way they did it in the movie. And for those who haven't read the book, (aka Jeff) the way they handled (or didn't) the resurrection stone confused the heck out of him.

Queila
08-01-2011, 05:15 PM
I haven't visited Sea World since 1997 but ater reading your entry I have ti out it down as a priority for our next trip!!! :teeth: So many new things!

Thank you for posting.
Q

Queila
08-01-2011, 05:19 PM
AND the Dr Seuss land looks amazing!!:love: Too bad you did not get to do too many of the rides. The Cat in the Hat is Bea's favorite book! :)

Marlton Mom
08-01-2011, 07:51 PM
Your Trip reports are more addicting than Tela Novelas! ::yes::

Marlton Mom

wdwgirl03
08-01-2011, 10:28 PM
Great updates! I like your HP shirt. And you gotta love those chocolate frogs. :thumbsup2

I am jealous...you guys hit pretty much every theme park in Orlando in one trip! I love Sea World. Did you see the story about the new baby dolphin? Now I really want to go back to see her! So cute.

PirateMommy
08-02-2011, 01:16 AM
Love the trip report so far, but I've got a practical question for you since I'll be at IOA in six days!!:banana:

How did you manage the photos of the queue for Forbidden Journey? Does your camera fit in your picket? I thought I had read that no bags were allowed on the rides there, and I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to get photos. You have some great quality shots (especially from up high when you *cough* weren't taking photos;)).

And did you try the lockers out at all (for storing bags/cameras)?

andylcq
08-02-2011, 01:44 AM
I will coming soon:dance3:

natebenma
08-02-2011, 04:50 AM
I'm with you on the spoiler, really left it in an odd spot they way they did it in the movie. And for those who haven't read the book, (aka Jeff) the way they handled (or didn't) the resurrection stone confused the heck out of him.

For the most part, I was very impressed with the movie and how closely it followed the book, but there were a few places where the differences bothered me. I didn't like where he found what he found in the RoR- in book 6 when Harry is hiding his book, the item is mentioned (although we don't know what it is) as being on the head/bust of an old wizard- so he has actually seen it before.

I continue to be blown away that J.K. had so much foreshadowing in what seemed to be minor details in all of the books- things that came back and were important in the end.