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View Full Version : TRIP REPORT - The OtHeR SiDe of OrlanDo -lodging at WINDSOR HILLS


mikkiwikki
12-20-2011, 09:36 PM
(Why isn't there a section for NON disney pretrip reports? Well - build it and they will come...right?)...HMMMMmmMM WELL
- There has to be a first for everything, & I'm happy to blaze that path. In 4 days me & my little family will be traveling to MCO....
SooOoOoExcited :goodvibes that I decided to start a PRETrip report.

>>>Join me in the FIRST ever NON-disney Orlando Trip report! ...drum roll Puhleeezz........


:santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa:
***2012- The OtHeR Side of Orlando Christmas xtraVaGanZa -*****

:santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa: :santa:

The NonSuspecting participants:
DS is 11 - very in love with technology at this age.
DD is 9 - very in love with all things dogs and horseys
DH - Just along for the ride...and excited to have a nice getaway from local family drama

The suspecting and directing participant
ME - loving escaping the northern climes even for the briefest of reprives.

QUICK PHOTO LINKS
Windsor Hills Pool (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43839609&postcount=64)
Windsor Hills Condo 304 vacation central florida (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43739371&postcount=35)


The plan is to travel to MCO the day before Christmas..
(will update these with hyperlinks when we go to events)

December 23rd OPEN GIFTS at home in Vermont

Dec 24, 2011 Christmas Eve
NOON Arrive @ MCO -Get Rental Car
Stop at Grocery store???
3:00 checkin to WINDSOR HILLS
Decorate Christmas Tree
LUNCH AT PERKINS (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43757387&postcount=41)
5:00 PM Have Dinner in Condo or out?

Dec 25, 2011 ChristmasDay - HANG OUT AT WINDSOR HILLS
8:00am Open a few presents..
11:00 AM Watch the Parading of the Ducks
12:00 PM BRUNCH Peabody hotel (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43791899&postcount=49)- SHHHH! its a Secret!!...Seeing the ducks...Brunch

Dec 26, 2011 UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
Bubba Gumps @City Walk (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43838828&postcount=61) {Need to scroll down a few for this one...}

Dec 27, 2011

Dec 28, 2011 UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
MYTHOS (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=44974554&postcount=106)
Grinchmas (http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=43925951&postcount=85)


Dec 29, 2011 GATORLAND
6:00 PM ARABIAN NIGHTS

Dec 30, 2011 KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

Dec 31, 2011 SWIM DAY
Ponderosa

Jan 1, 2012 Orlando science Center

Jan 2, 2012 Not sure

Jan 3, 2012 Not sure

Jan 4, 2012 Leave

2Pirates2Princesses
12-20-2011, 09:59 PM
Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 :laughing: Have a wonderful holiday trip :thumbsup2

mikkiwikki
12-20-2011, 10:16 PM
Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 :laughing: Have a wonderful holiday trip :thumbsup2
:cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:

Thanks so much! I cannot wait...and funny but DD is more excited for Gatorland on this next adventure than Harry Potter! Agast:scared1:

So far the bags are packed, Condo/Airline/Tickets paid for and organized, artineraries printed.Need to finalize a grocery list for when we arrive...

I do have to pick up some PS2 games for the condo...Im sure other todos will pop into my head... Thanks for reading! :yay:

GypsyPearl
12-21-2011, 11:55 AM
Looks like fun. We did the non-Disney Orlando this summer and had a blast. Don't underestimate Gatorland. We did a night-time, after hours tour where we got a chance to feed some alligators as well as see some of the exhibits at night with no crowds. We also got the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor, a tarantula, and a baby alligator. So much fun!

bankr63
12-21-2011, 12:10 PM
If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.

loveysbydesign
12-21-2011, 12:15 PM
woo-hoo...looking forward to this TR!

2Pirates2Princesses
12-21-2011, 03:57 PM
If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.


This sounds nice and a chance to explore a part of central Florida that doesn't involve another theme park or tourist attraction.

MissDaisyofTexas
12-21-2011, 04:08 PM
Sounds like a great trip!

The last 2 trips with our kids (well, the only 2 trips with our kids) we've only done Disney. We are thinking the next time we go in a few years (when the kids are older) we'd like to do some non-Disney things, like Harry Potter and even some of the non-Disney dinner shows. I feel like there's a whole other world we're missing out on! LOL

mikkiwikki
12-21-2011, 05:59 PM
Looks like fun. We did the non-Disney Orlando this summer and had a blast. Don't underestimate Gatorland. We did a night-time, after hours tour where we got a chance to feed some alligators as well as see some of the exhibits at night with no crowds. We also got the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor, a tarantula, and a baby alligator. So much fun!

Thanks GypsyPearl! SO NICE to hear that you had a great experience.
My daughter is a true animal lover. Animal Kingdom is her favorite park, and we have never been to Gatorland. Actually a few years ago (2007?) when Gatorland had the fire I was so sad, seeing it on the news...thinking oh MAN we never had a chance to see it! But it sounds like they really restored everything and we are really looking forward to seeing it. Seriously its going to be the highlight of the trip for DD. Id love to see a boa & a Albino gator!

DS however wants nothing to do with the animals...:laughing: and primarily wants Universal & Kennedy Space center. Im kinda bummed we wont be at Kennedy Space center during a launch but I'm sure it will be fun nonetheless!

Thanks for reading, and Im getting really psyched up for this trip. I'll try to journal our adventure. Stay tuned! :goodvibes:goodvibes
:wizard:

mikkiwikki
12-21-2011, 06:07 PM
If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.

Wow - cool -:thumbsup2 After your post I looked this up... I actually got this cool book called "Around Orlando with KIDS - 60 Great Things to do Together by FODOR's" and Blue Springs is item 3! The book states" When the waterways get cold usually around November a favorite manatee haunt is sBlue Spring State Park. where the spring water bubbles up to an agreeable 72degrees. up to 150 mantees ...swim from St. Johns River to gather at the spring. Youll be able to watch these unusual mamals swimming in the spring often with babiesby their sides."

My DD would LOVE this! Thanks for suggesting this! I'm totally adding this to my artinerary.:woohoo:

mikkiwikki
12-21-2011, 06:14 PM
Sounds like a great trip!

The last 2 trips with our kids (well, the only 2 trips with our kids) we've only done Disney. We are thinking the next time we go in a few years (when the kids are older) we'd like to do some non-Disney things, like Harry Potter and even some of the non-Disney dinner shows. I feel like there's a whole other world we're missing out on! LOL

Thanks MissDaisyofTexas -

Yes after years on the Disney train, we decided, we needed to explore. After all it's what Walt would do - isn't it? Explore everything Florida has to offer? I'm very excited to see the other side of Orlando, and the family is too. :yay:

mikkiwikki
12-21-2011, 06:21 PM
woo-hoo...looking forward to this TR!

Thanks Loveysbydesign - Glad you are following my first ever non-disney TR ;)
I'm slowly weaning myself off the mouse...but the questions around the disney bubble....keep nagging at me...such as

1) WILL we be able to transition to experiencing ...a completely FINGER SCAN FREE day?...
(actually Im looking forward very much to **NOT*** finger scanning...:lmao:)
2) Will we be able to deal with not having to wait in line? or carry little red placard necklaces to a ride attendant?
(well ok there might be lines at Universal...who am I kidding)
3) Will I be able to deal with not having to sit on the floor of a bus?
4) Will I be able to deal with 3 bedrooms...me and my husband sleeping in a KING bed with ample space, as well as my children having their own beds? (as opposed to crammed into a single room)

Pleeze...tell me it will be ok? :rotfl:

A Little voice tells me..."yknow what it will be fine...I believe we can & we will" agree?

mikkiwikki
12-21-2011, 06:51 PM
Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 :laughing: Have a wonderful holiday trip :thumbsup2

Thanks 2Pirates2Princesses
(btw how do you manage that!? one of each is all I can handle ;))
Your right I guess I couldve logged this in the Universal forum however, we really dont consider this a Universal trip...(even tho my ticker indicates otherwise...but there was no ticker with gators I could find) ...Most prominently because we are staying offsite , with a focus on seeing orlando and eating offsite as well. I can't wait to explore the surrounding non-theme park area :dance3:

Yknow I bet the wifi is better at Windsor Hills than it was at the Polynesian. (see my last TR)
I can't wait to test!

shalom
12-21-2011, 10:55 PM
You might look into "Showcase of Citrus," where you can pick your own fruit and they've got "eco tours" which my kids at those ages would get a kick out of. Lots of stuff you can pick now -- we've never gone because there's nothing to pick when we're out there!

http://www.showcaseofcitrus.com/

How about a day at the beach? Or one day on the Atlantic, one on the Gulf? ;) If you go to Cocoa Beach or thereabouts for the beach, you could fit in a trip to the Brevard zoo, which has an obstacle course and (memory serves) canoeing and stuff.

There's also a state park that's practically a zoo, but all (or mostly all) local animals -- Manatee, Florida panther, bobcats, otters, bear, key deer, alligators, birds, etc. At least an hour away, though.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/default.cfm

sara mom
12-22-2011, 07:41 PM
Gatorland! We loved it! We were there the day after Thanksgiving and there were hardly any people. The only thing I wish I had done there was the ziplining! Awesome experience...my son loved sitting with boa constrictor around his neck.

Enjoy your trip!

mikkiwikki
12-23-2011, 10:02 PM
You might look into "Showcase of Citrus," where you can pick your own fruit and they've got "eco tours" which my kids at those ages would get a kick out of. Lots of stuff you can pick now -- we've never gone because there's nothing to pick when we're out there!

http://www.showcaseofcitrus.com/

How about a day at the beach? Or one day on the Atlantic, one on the Gulf? ;) If you go to Cocoa Beach or thereabouts for the beach, you could fit in a trip to the Brevard zoo, which has an obstacle course and (memory serves) canoeing and stuff.

There's also a state park that's practically a zoo, but all (or mostly all) local animals -- Manatee, Florida panther, bobcats, otters, bear, key deer, alligators, birds, etc. At least an hour away, though.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/default.cfm


Thanks Shalom! great suggestions Id love to squeak in showcase of citrus. Sounds like it is the right time of year to go to! Where else can you get a mammouth grapefruit the size of your noggin? :) Seriously the monster truck tour looks really cool. I'm sure my kids would love it. Thanks for your thoughtful reply! :)

mikkiwikki
12-23-2011, 10:16 PM
Gatorland! We loved it! We were there the day after Thanksgiving and there were hardly any people. The only thing I wish I had done there was the ziplining! Awesome experience...my son loved sitting with boa constrictor around his neck.

Enjoy your trip!

Cool glad to hear saramom!
WE leave in 7 hours! guess I should get to bed.

All the presents are opened, all the chores done...all the bags packed.
We have free wireless in the condo so look forward to more updtaes..
We can't wait to get there. Stay tuned! :woohoo::woohoo::goodvibes

mikkiwikki
12-27-2011, 07:07 PM
We left vt with an inch of snow on the ground.

After having a perfect flight on jetblue ( no delays) arrived at MCO and our bags were the first off the caroselle.

Someone on mousesavers recommended using national emerald eisle for car rental. I have to say we really liked it. You basically pick up your luggage .. Walk down the escalator and STRAIGHt into the garage and pick out any car on the emerald eisle. With grumpy kids this is a godsend( not having to wait at a counter and fill out paperwork) u literally jump right into a car ., drive up to a gate hand over your drivers license and registration number, tell them if u want to prepay for gas, and you are off! This was an awesome experience. We used hot-wire last and ended up
with Avis. This was better

After picking out a fine mid sized spotless vehicle
Next we realized that wecould not check in until 3 pm.

Therefore we ended up on Idrive looking for a restaurant.

loveysbydesign
12-28-2011, 09:13 AM
hooray for the update!

ddluvsdisney
12-30-2011, 03:33 PM
Glad to hear you arrived safely.
Where did you get a Christmas tree?? For your room
Can't wait to hear about Gatorland. My mom wants to take my boys there so badly. Maybe in April. We'll see. I just feel we won't have enough time, we'll only be there a week.

Deb :)

7165red
12-30-2011, 05:50 PM
We always rent through National/Emerald Club, they make it so easy for you. Pick out any car, thats fun. I love to hear more about xmas dinner at the Peabody, menu, price and dress code.

paleomom
01-01-2012, 11:09 AM
Can't wait to hear about your experience at Kennedy Space Center! We are taking DS8 there on January 29, 2012. I read that while they are decommissioning the shuttles, visitors get a chance to see them. Have a great trip!

mikkiwikki
01-04-2012, 11:20 PM
JUST got off the flight.

I have to report that the wireless was great at Windsor Hills. However, I found it really annoying to post trip updates with my Iphone...so decided to wait until I got back home, to do a proper report.

I have a huge trip report to detail...

We did 3 days at Universal but strangely those were not the favorites of the kiddos..

The grounds at Windsor Hills are astonishing. We loved the kids having their own room, the awesome pool & slide, the activities onsite, and the cool movie theatre. Actually we were so taken by the place, that we immediately booked a condo for spring break we liked it so much. AND a christmas 2012 ressie! I have tons of pics of the grounds here and various amenities. To come...

IN addition, the PEABODY Christmas brunch was AMAZING!
I'm serious when I say it was totally worth every penny we paid. The mimosas never stopped coming!
The detail to the food is just phenomenal. I also got many pics of the parading of the ducks. Actually my daughter got picked to be the Duck 'chauffer'..ie was given a duck cane to parade them down the red carpet.

We ALSO ended up going to Orlando Science center as well which was a huge hit with the kids. The kids actually asked to return there pretty much every day of our trip. Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland..huge hits!
Sadly we never made it to Blue Springs state park, but have on the agenda for a future trip.

I have tons to report so ...Stay tuned!! :goodvibes:goodvibes

mikkiwikki
01-04-2012, 11:34 PM
Glad to hear you arrived safely.
Where did you get a Christmas tree?? For your room
Can't wait to hear about Gatorland. My mom wants to take my boys there so badly. Maybe in April. We'll see. I just feel we won't have enough time, we'll only be there a week.

Deb :)

Condo owner provided the tree...it was a smallish one but plenty pretty.
We had never rented a condo before..but did a lot of research..
We ended up renting through vacationcentralflorida.com
I picked a 3bdrm...specifially Unit 304 Lee and Sue Ellen very nice people.
Actually when we arrived on Christmas Eve -they had Christmas music playing on the radio for us..and a nice welcome basket,and welcome letter.

We loved everything about this condo and will be returning again soon!:wizard:
We love love loved gatorland...actually it was my daughters absolute favorite destination of the trip. I have a great picture of her sitting on a gator that she is very proud of...again..I just got off theplane so as soon as I upload everything to photobucket tomorrow, Ill be able to talk about it in detail! :banana:

mikkiwikki
01-04-2012, 11:38 PM
Can't wait to hear about your experience at Kennedy Space Center! We are taking DS8 there on January 29, 2012. I read that while they are decommissioning the shuttles, visitors get a chance to see them. Have a great trip!

Kennedy Space Center was a big hit with DS..He got picked as the 'star' of the Star Trek Experience show...we got a free photo. I took a video that I was laughing so hard about, I fear no one will be able to hear the audio. Ill upload tomorrow and we will see!;)

2Pirates2Princesses
01-05-2012, 10:02 AM
Sounds like you had a great trip. We are also looking to rent a condo or townhouse at Windsor Hills for our next trip through vacationcentralflorida.com. Windsor Hills seems like an incredible value for all you get and it's close proximity to the parks is a bonus. I've heard a lot of great things about Gatorland and the Orlando Science Center too. We'll definitely have to look into those places if we do a non-Disney vacation in Orlando. Thanks for the updates :thumbsup2

mikkiwikki
01-06-2012, 12:18 AM
Sounds like you had a great trip. We are also looking to rent a condo or townhouse at Windsor Hills for our next trip through vacationcentralflorida.com. Windsor Hills seems like an incredible value for all you get and it's close proximity to the parks is a bonus. I've heard a lot of great things about Gatorland and the Orlando Science Center too. We'll definitely have to look into those places if we do a non-Disney vacation in Orlando. Thanks for the updates :thumbsup2

:thumbsup2
I was really amazed while staying there..
I spoke with many guests while I was in the hottub talking about how they had been back to Windsor Hills 2, 3, 4, 5 times! as opposed to staying onsite at disney. Not kidding... I just went on and on with random families about how much more you get for your dollar at windor hills...but maybe I should shut up and not let the secret out SHHHHHH..:cutie:

Did I mention I already booked our spring break trip at windsor hills??

pics coming tomorrow..:surfweb:

ddluvsdisney
01-06-2012, 07:13 PM
:thumbsup2
I was really amazed while staying there..
I spoke with many guests while I was in the hottub talking about how they had been back to Windsor Hills 2, 3, 4, 5 times! as opposed to staying onsite at disney. Not kidding... I just went on and on with random families about how much more you get for your dollar at windor hills...but maybe I should shut up and not let the secret out SHHHHHH..:cutie:

Did I mention I already booked our spring break trip at windsor hills??

pics coming tomorrow..:surfweb:

So true!! you do get so much more staying off property.
I would take going to Disney more often or staying longer offsite than having a shorter vacation onsite any day!:thumbsup2
My parents have a timeshare at Orange lake resort and it is really nice. We're going with them this year, but instead of OL we're staying at the Sheraton Vistana. I'll take free anytime lol :banana:

ddluvsdisney
01-09-2012, 10:16 AM
Do you know how far WH is from Disney? Maybe I should check it out. I wonder if they are an RCI exchange.

loveysbydesign
01-09-2012, 12:15 PM
Do you know how far WH is from Disney? Maybe I should check it out. I wonder if they are an RCI exchange.
It's only about 4 miles from Ak and a little further to the rest of the parks. We love WH and Indian Creek :goodvibes

loveysbydesign
01-09-2012, 12:17 PM
Here's a map that shows all the subdivisions in the area, WH is placemark #1
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&t=h&hl=en&msa=0&msid=110562778588256174172.000453baef0290954cc04&ll=28.272032,-81.608849&spn=0.068335,0.11055&z=13

ddluvsdisney
01-09-2012, 01:35 PM
Here's a map that shows all the subdivisions in the area, WH is placemark #1
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&t=h&hl=en&msa=0&msid=110562778588256174172.000453baef0290954cc04&ll=28.272032,-81.608849&spn=0.068335,0.11055&z=13

Thanks for the map. We usually stay at Orange Lake so it's pretty close to that. :)

mikkiwikki
01-10-2012, 10:40 PM
OK a thousand apologies....got back to work and life took over.
I promise tons of pictures soon. :) I have NOT forgotten!

mikkiwikki
01-10-2012, 10:42 PM
Do you know how far WH is from Disney? Maybe I should check it out. I wonder if they are an RCI exchange.

Its literally like 10 mins ...you past clubhouse on teascone drive , out gate, ake a left ..a right onto I-4 and disney exit 2 exits straight ahead!;)

mikkiwikki
01-14-2012, 10:19 PM
Arrived Christmas EVE with Christmas Carols playing on the radio....:santa:

and this..(got so much more for our money than DISNEY!!) :goodvibes
We have next year already booked.;)

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1194.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1200.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1201.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1195.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1196.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1197.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1198.jpg

At the pool that evening..
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1224.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1223.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1222.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1220.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1219.jpg


http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1218.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1217.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1216.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Windsor%20Hills%20Love%20it/IMG_1215.jpg

TR to come....stay tuned!

Momma2PrinceNPrinces
01-15-2012, 10:08 AM
Sorry if I missed this, but can you post the link to the condo that you stayed in? Thanks!

mikkiwikki
01-15-2012, 09:01 PM
Sorry if I missed this, but can you post the link to the condo that you stayed in? Thanks!

Sure thing! We booked through Vacationcentralflorida.com
Click 304 on the left side of the menu.
It was a 3 bdrm..I have a pic of the MASTER bedroom somewhere...:)

Ive already booked two more trips through them

shalom
01-16-2012, 11:01 AM
Actually my daughter got picked to be the Duck 'chauffer'..ie was given a duck cane to parade them down the red carpet.

Oh, my goodness! My duck-loving son would have gone NUTS if he'd gotten to do it at that age. To be honest, he'd be pretty excited about it now, and he's 15. :rotfl:


Actually when we arrived on Christmas Eve -they had Christmas music playing on the radio for us..and a nice welcome basket,and welcome letter.


Aw, that's sweet. :goodvibes All we ever got in the Tennessee condos my parents rented for us was notes to do the dishes and bedding before we go. :lmao:

Great idea doing a non-Disney trip report here. :) I have a couple of roughed out reports from trips where we barely hit Disney or didn't hit the parks; maybe I should put them here should I ever finish them. :scratchin I mostly do them for the kids. ;)

More pictures, please? :flower3:

nessz79
01-16-2012, 12:28 PM
Looking forward to more!

Momma2PrinceNPrinces
01-16-2012, 12:39 PM
Sure thing! We booked through Vacationcentralflorida.com
Click 304 on the left side of the menu.
It was a 3 bdrm..I have a pic of the MASTER bedroom somewhere...:)

Ive already booked two more trips through them

Thank you! I'm checking them out right now :yay:

mikkiwikki
01-16-2012, 06:18 PM
Ok so let me backup....(from the lovely WH condo pictures)

When we arrived in Orlando on JetBlue it was 11:30am. We had a bit of time to kill because checkin to our condo was at 3pm. We picked up our luggage from the caroselle, and headed to National Emerald Green Isle to pick up our rental car. Let me just say that I will never rent with another car company. The experience was so flawless...just walk out to the garage and pick out a car with the keys already in it....then at the gate give your drivers license and you are OFF..off to your condo! This was such a blessing with two cranky kids...I just loved it. I had used Avis in the past and the waiting at the counter thing with Cranky kids can be tough.

Therefore we were on the road with our GPS which I brought in my carryon..and punched in the coordinates to Windsor HIlls.

We made a quick trip to make sure we could find the condo. Once we had our bearings we decided that everyone was starving and we were off to find a place to eat. We ended up at PERKINS >http://www.perkinsrestaurants.com/
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery‎ 6813 W Sand Lake Rd Orlando, FL 32819

Salad - huge and fresh...tasty
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1181.jpg

My Chicken sandwich..This was ok but the bun had a sweet taste to it that didnt appeal to me...I ended up finishing all of my salad tho.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1182.jpg

DH Club sandwich.. Everything was fresh and tasty..Hubby finished all of this.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1184.jpg

DS burger..humongeous and he loved it
DD had a similar burger and loved it. Also both kids got a "free crazy cookie" which was 1/2 Chocolate Chip and 1/2 chocolate cookie.. DD liked it so much she immediately made a request to return to Perkins. We will be back! Service was awesome and very prompt
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1185.jpg

We finished the 'killing time til checkin' episode by doing some mini golf on IDrive...it was very HOT...we all were in inappropriate clothing for the heat...but nevertheless we all had a blast. :thumbsup2
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1187.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1188.jpg

Notice hubby's cheery disposition..he was wearing fleece lined jeans and it was over 73+ (love ya honey dont wear fleece lined jeans flying into Orlando in the future kay?) He pulled it together tho and had fun
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1186.jpg

After golf it was near 3pm so we traveled back to our condo.
When we arrived all I reported before and also a gift basket and sweet letter greeted us. The place was spotless and I would stay here again in a second. Unit 304
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1193.jpg

Tomorrow is 12/25 and we brunch at the Peabody with the ducks and a FABULOUS brunch. I highly recommend this if you can swallow the price (180.00! for 4) Lots of pics to come:surfweb:

lotus14
01-16-2012, 07:54 PM
Awesome gift basket. What was in it? We are staying in a Vacation Central Florida townhouse in August and I'm wondering if this is something they normally do or if it was just for Christmas? What a nice gesture either way.

ddluvsdisney
01-17-2012, 09:17 AM
Looks like a really nice place. We are now staying at the Sheraton Vistana in April.
Can't wait to hear more about your trip! :)

leanne11
01-17-2012, 12:48 PM
wow..yr family is exactly like ours..we need that perkins, we dont have 1 here in pa..and were doing WH..and how close was that mini golf??. did u buy any groceries??looking for cheapo flip flops and hats and disny stuff but before the we go to the parks.. and cheaper than the parks. any more pool pix??:rotfl:

mikkiwikki
01-17-2012, 10:41 PM
Awesome gift basket. What was in it? We are staying in a Vacation Central Florida townhouse in August and I'm wondering if this is something they normally do or if it was just for Christmas? What a nice gesture either way.

I DON'T think that was typical. It is totally up to your condo owner...and I think it was a gift because it was the holidays...(we arrived on Christmas Eve).
Cheese, crackers, olives and cookies. Very nice touch!

mikkiwikki
01-17-2012, 11:22 PM
wow..yr family is exactly like ours..we need that perkins, we dont have 1 here in pa..and were doing WH..and how close was that mini golf??. did u buy any groceries??looking for cheapo flip flops and hats and disny stuff but before the we go to the parks.. and cheaper than the parks. any more pool pix??:rotfl:

More pool pics coming...IM actually trying to hunt down more PEABODY brunch pics...at the moment I can find 5...I thought I took more...

Here is the location of the mini golf - right around the corner...take a drive down teascone drive...left and a left...and jungle golf on the left

Jungle GOLF (http://wikimapia.org/#lat=28.3457088&lon=-81.6280746&z=14&l=0&m=b&show=/11495745/Jungle-Golf-Maingate) Here is the website>>http://mightyjunglegolfgroups.com/

This was DDs idea...as we were driving by...begged us to go really...It was like 28$! for all 4 of us to play....but the kids had fun. Worth an hour 1/2 diversion. :)

We did all our shopping here
WinnDixie (http://wikimapia.org/#lat=28.346011&lon=-81.6283321&z=14&l=0&m=b&show=/11603928/Marketplace-Winn-Dixie) Really liked it over a Super Target...they had tons of flip flops sunglasses etc type of stuff. Even had inflatable aligators...which were were able to use at Windsor HIlls...(can't do that at disney!)

preschoolmom
01-19-2012, 03:26 PM
We're going to Gatorland on our next trip, I can't wait to read the rest of your report!

:thumbsup2

JenSinMA
01-19-2012, 04:22 PM
Great trip report! Can't wait to read more. We're going this April and I'm still considering staying at WH (tho I have a back up ressie elsewhere.) I'm curious to know how long it actually took to drive to Universal from WH. And did your condo feel private enough? Noise from surrounding units?
Thanks for the great pix and details! :)
Jen

mikkiwikki
01-20-2012, 12:03 AM
After opening a few presents in the condo on Christmas morning, we drove to the Peabody Hotel, and arrived at 11:30am with a 12:00 Christmas Brunch reservation at Capriccio Grill - Peabody Hotel Orlando
9801 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1210.jpg

waiting for the ducks....:rolleyes1

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1203.jpg

You can see my DD at the end of the red carpet here...looking for the ducks coming off the elevator...the staff saw her cute Christmas dress and asked if she wanted to be 'Duck chauffeure' - and handed her a cane..:cool1:

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1205.jpg

My daughter was picked as the 'Duck Chauffere' & given a cane to guide the ducks to the fountain...

After guiding the ducks down the red carpet, they had their snacks... here is a picture of her with the ducks..(you can't tell from this picture but actually it was QUITE crowded when the ducks came down the red carpet...I waited for everyone to disperse to take this shot)

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1211.jpg

The staff that gave DD the cane asked if we wanted to see the Duck Condo (100,000 dollar I'm told)

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1206.jpg

I did not take a video but essentially this is what we experienced...Kids loved it
Peabody ducks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n40CIzCOTtU)

After our duck adventure we were off to Capriccio Grill...
The ducks run down the red carpet twice a day ...11:00am and 4pm so we timed our brunch ressie just right.

The brunch was astonishing...every kind of food imaginable was present...
I'll totally do it a disservice trying to describe them all ..but here goes..

Kids section included...peanut butter & small jelley petit fours, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese. many little petit fours of various types..ham and cheese, peanut butter and banana...and other tiny meat sandwiches..the kids were thilled

Then so many adult food items.....there were all kinds of meats, smoked turkey, marinated mussels in a tomatoe basil marinade, smoked salmon, honey basted chicken, Prime Rib & Honey Ham - with a chef on service to carve it...

I swore I took more pictures but here is what I can find...
my breakfast entree - Poached Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce - - Perfect loved it
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1209.jpg
There was a 'cold' buffet' section and a 'hot' buffet section where they had chefs serving up omelets and such.

The service was impeccable, and the waiter Joseph kept the Mimosas coming..faster than I could drink them.:) He got a big 25% tip.

I also got a second plate of prime rib and salmon with cream cheese and a bagel with lox..Hubby went back many times.

Desert plate
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1208.jpg

Let's just say...we will be going back again next year....

leanne11
01-20-2012, 04:32 PM
oh my.looks great..were doing didn't Parks and gatorland..how close were they..where is the Peabody afraid it might be to fancy for us..great pic.u used the alligator in big pol.pic??

ddluvsdisney
01-20-2012, 07:46 PM
Do you know the back story behind the ducks at the Peabody??
How did you hear about the restaurant?

momlee4
01-21-2012, 11:42 PM
I'm watching your trip report! Please post more sooner than later, can't wait to hear about your experience with Gatorland. We're going to WDW in October and may or may not do Gatorland - might depend on your report!:)

Mum from oz
01-22-2012, 06:29 AM
How cool, being the duck chauffer! I am really enjoying your TR. We stayed at WH and loved it, we are headed back there soon. That brunch looks amazing!

leanne11
01-22-2012, 01:11 PM
we've. done gatorland every time we go..we love it..its tourism at its best..i say as long as u know..you'll have fun..buy the hot dogs to fed them.they jump super high.bring swimsuit the have a little water area and if you don't want to be picked to volunteer raise your hand..i didn't volunteer at all and ended up with a snake around me..

ddluvsdisney
01-22-2012, 01:19 PM
we've. done gatorland every time we go..we love it..its tourism at its best..i say as long as u know..you'll have fun..buy the hot dogs to fed them.they jump super high.bring swimsuit the have a little water area and if you don't want to be picked to volunteer raise your hand..i didn't volunteer at all and ended up with a snake around me..

That sounds a little scary :scared1:!!! Can you tell me more about that?
TIA

leanne11
01-22-2012, 06:56 PM
after about the third show we got the hint that they want everyone to participate ..it really is Fun to see someone unexpectedly picked to come up front..mine was fun and we got great pic..also for a couple of bucks.u can sit on alligator. mouth taped great photo op.

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 06:55 PM
Great trip report! Can't wait to read more. We're going this April and I'm still considering staying at WH (tho I have a back up ressie elsewhere.) I'm curious to know how long it actually took to drive to Universal from WH. And did your condo feel private enough? Noise from surrounding units? Thanks for the great pix and details! :)
Jen

Hi JenSinMA!

The trip to Universal was literally 24 mins...BUT I have to say we seemed to hit traffic consistently on the way back from universal...on the 3 days we went...each time... so it put the trip back around 35-40 mins. However we didn't mind as we were just ready to swim at that point. Kids entertained with DS's and mom and dad had a chance to chat.

Here is my MAP (http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Windsor+Hills+Resort,+Almaton+Loop,+Kis simmee,+FL&daddr=Universal+Orlando+Resort,+Orlando,+FL&hl=en&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=46.409192,79.013672&geocode=FR80sAEdM_si-yGk5-tKOkeM1w%3BFZGGsgEdHNkk-ylFJp834X7niDFYtlPimWX2Mg&oq=universal+orland&vpsrc=0&mra=ls&t=m&z=12)
CONDO definitely felt private. Never heard neighbors along side of us...but I will admit there were two occasions where we could hear people tromping around upstairs. But it was nothing that would prevent us from going there again.

Another big post coming tonight ...work has gotten really busy for me...so many apologies..

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 07:17 PM
Do you know the back story behind the ducks at the Peabody??

Here is the official story:

Each morning, promptly at 11 a.m., the hotel's atrium lobby is the scene of a remarkable ritual. In a special elevator, the five North American mallard ducks, four hens and one drake, comprising The Peabody Ducks, descend from their $100,000 penthouse Royal Duck Palace.

When the elevator doors open, The Peabody Ducks, accompanied by their crimson-and-gold- braid-jacketed Duck Master™, take up their positions on a plush red carpet and begin The March of The Peabody Orlando Ducks to the strident tones of John Philip Sousa's King Cotton March.

They waddle their way in formation through the hotel's marble halls, and when they reach the magnificent, orchid-crowned fountain, which takes center stage in the Atrium Lobby, the ducks mount three red-carpeted steps and splash into the fountain's waters. Tumultuous applause reverberates through the lofty, foliage-draped lobby, and standing ovations are the order of the day by the hundreds of onlookers who daily crowd into the hotel to see one of the greatest shows on earth.

At 5 p.m., the procession is reversed, The Peabody Orlando Ducks marching back to their special elevator, then to their Royal Duck Palace for dinner and a quiet evening together."

How did you hear about the restaurant?

To be honest - not sure where I read about it...but thought it would be fun, and glad we did it!:wizard:
Here is a video that explains the history video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yXbfDujpws&feature=related)
AND shows the penthouse that the ducks live in!

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 07:31 PM
That sounds a little scary :scared1:!!! Can you tell me more about that?
TIA

When you arrive there is a booth that sells hotdogs.
This was fun albeit gross...lol BUT If I had to do again..I would bring a plastic bag...they hand you the hotdogs in some thin wax paper that disintegrates rather quickly...read..your hands will smell like hotdogs for a while...:rotfl:

BUT the great reactions from kids and hubby watching the gators eat up the dogs...man...OK I have to post my Gatorland report! Darnit...not until 12/30 in this report UGH..

Next up 12/26 coming up UNIVERSAL First day :woohoo:

ddluvsdisney
01-24-2012, 07:32 PM
Thanks for info.
Does look really cute!

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 08:29 PM
Ok I know this is the OtHeR SiDe of OrlanDo report so
a trip to the theme park doesnt really fit...but we DID make a trip to the DARK side on a few dates.

We arrive at the Studios - the day after Christmas
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012688.jpg

We started by getting Preferred parking and DASHING down the moving walkways...
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012656.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012659.jpg

They are building something interesting after you approach the entrance..BeetleJuice?:3dglasses
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012660.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012662.jpg
Make our way to toon town...not sure why...
Anyone old enough to remember Blondie? :cutie::laughing:
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012674.jpg

So many great Photo ops here.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012678.jpg

Son under a thought bubble
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012677.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012679.jpg

After a few rides (pics from dr. seuss high in the sky trolley train)
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012664.jpg

We made our way back to Bubba Gumps for lunch-
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012680.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0WkTyDUbcB8/Tj1TrlJ6DmI/AAAAAAAAD-w/iqWtfqH9w5k/s1600/bubba-gump-shrimp-office-relocation.jpg
We have been here before and love it. ;) Our Waitress is great and gives us all kinds of trivia questions..about Gump menu here (http://www.bubbagump.com/menus/)

I had a Coronita...
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012682.jpg

Hubby had a Shrimp Po'BOY
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012684.jpg
DD Kids chicken Tender
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012685.jpg
DS Kids CheeseBurger
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012686.jpg
Stuffed shrimp for me.....HushPuppies app for Hubby ANDhmm cant find pics will add when I find.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012687.jpg

Everyone thought the food was great and had no complaints

Total 81.18:surfweb:
but I used my landry's card and saved 10%!

ddluvsdisney
01-24-2012, 08:38 PM
Did you not stay very long? Didn't look like you did very much that day.

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 09:23 PM
Did you not stay very long? Didn't look like you did very much that day.

We were in ORLANDO for 12 days and had and Unlimited 14 day pass to Universal so were pacing ourselves
After lunch we went back to harry Potter Land WHICH>> after the next few days...I realized how lucky we were.
We tried to go to Harry Potter Land in a few days in the afternoon...and they were handing out tickets toget in at a later time...Like the land was FULL and you could not get in...

So here are the picks of Harry from that day at The Flight of the Hippogriff. We went on three times.
.http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012666.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012667.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012670.jpg
PLEASE note and pause for a moment on Dear Daughter...with Hippogriff to the tune of 25 bucks ..BUT
Please also note you get a 10% discount with your AAA card. TIP!

We actually went on Storm Accellerator 2 times...also...but then the kids just wanted to swim..Pics of Pool coming up

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 09:34 PM
Back to Windsor Hills

Given the title of the report I feel compelled to infuse it with lots of memories from our lodging...so here goes! After a bit of roaming at Universal we were ready to relax at Windsor HIlls. On that first day the traffic wasnt so bad.as soon as we got back to our condo the kids were in their swimsuits and out the door for the pool.

We just loved it here. Mind you this was in December and it was gorgeous. about 75 degrees..and the pool was heated.
There was NEVER any trouble getting a lounge chair...Can't say that for the Poly :goodvibes:goodvibes
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1252.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1255.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1256.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1258.jpg

Enjoy! (try to ignore the tantalizingly stunning leg in the last shot....calm down boys...I'm married - lol)

Counting down the days until spring break...we will be back! :surfweb:

mikkiwikki
01-24-2012, 11:03 PM
we've. done gatorland every time we go..we love it..its tourism at its best.

totally agree.
When we go back in april the only thing my daughter wants to do is gatorland!
Wow ...let me see...:rolleyes1
178 for universal ticket or 40 for Gatorland ....Hmm...OK! What to choose?

Gatorland it is!

I promise to get through the next few posts soon to post my Gatorland pics because it really was a big win for us. :thumbsup2

Sprockie
01-25-2012, 06:03 AM
Awesome, can't wait for Gatorland pics. We're flying out of northern NY today and checking in to Windsor Hills tonight for 2 weeks! I will keep checking for your posts.

ddluvsdisney
01-25-2012, 10:01 AM
WH does look nice. My parents have a timeshare at Orange Lake and this year she exchanged into the Sheraton Vistana so that's where we're staying in April. What are your dates in April?
I hear ya about no chairs at the Poly LOL! :) They definately need a bigger pool and deck.
Can't wait to hea about Gatorland. How much did you say tix were???

mikkiwikki
01-25-2012, 10:33 PM
We always rent through National/Emerald Club, they make it so easy for you. Pick out any car, thats fun. I love to hear more about xmas dinner at the Peabody, menu, price and dress code.

p.s never answered this question
The dress code was casual...but most people were wearing nicer clothes.
My son had shorts on but a collared shirt, me and dd had nice dresses, and fit right in. There were no flip flops here.;)

mikkiwikki
01-25-2012, 10:36 PM
WH does look nice. My parents have a timeshare at Orange Lake and this year she exchanged into the Sheraton Vistana so that's where we're staying in April. What are your dates in April?
I hear ya about no chairs at the Poly LOL! :) They definately need a bigger pool and deck.
Can't wait to hear about Gatorland. How much did you say tix were???

Yep DDLUVSDISNEY - :) Couldnt believe I paid so much and could not even sit my but down near a pool on my vacation at the Poly. Total rip. :scared1:
Like I said never had a problem finding a spot at WH...

Regarding Gatorland - We got our tix from unofficial tourist. They had the lowest prices. here they were. Ill post Gatorland tomorrow. Have to sleep! :cloud9:
-------------------------------------------------------------
1 Day 1 Park (Gatorland)
-------------------------------------------------------------

2 * Adult ($ 19.95) = 39.90
2 * Child ($ 12.95) = 25.90

QuirkyBelle
01-26-2012, 08:03 PM
Whew! All caught up. I can't believe I didn't realize you'd started a TR. Looks like a great time so far, the ducks in particular. :lmao: Can't wait to read more!

LuvindisCruiser
01-26-2012, 09:10 PM
So glad I found your report!
We are doing universal in June and staying at Windsor hills.
Can't wait to hear how the rest of the trip went. popcorn::

mikkiwikki
01-26-2012, 10:01 PM
Whew! All caught up. I can't believe I didn't realize you'd started a TR. Looks like a great time so far, the ducks in particular. :lmao: Can't wait to read more!

Quirky!! Thanks for subbing! :thumbsup2 ducks were cool ...Im skipping to GAtorland next...because I think that is what everyone here is interested in ;)
Organizing my pics.....next hour they will be up!

mikkiwikki
01-26-2012, 10:04 PM
So glad I found your report!
We are doing universal in June and staying at Windsor hills.
Can't wait to hear how the rest of the trip went. popcorn::

:welcome:

:banana::banana: new Subscriber!
Yes we loved Windsor HIlls...we are going back in April - I just actually asked hubby what he wanted to do...and he said he'd like to do a non-theme park trip..maybe some nice beaches...He LOVED Orlando Science Center too.
...so I guess our april trip will be more PURELY offsite.

mikkiwikki
01-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Ok so GATORLAND...This really was a big win for us. The kids had so much fun here. My first advice is to CHECK when the land opens...I mistakenly read in an old tourist book...that it opened at 9am. Well apparently that is not all year long. We arrived at nine and they did not open until 10.

I was thinking No biggie we can drive around and grab a bite..but there literally are no restaurants for miles around this place. I think we ended up at some faraway convenience store to grab donuts...:rotfl:

Anyways. When it opened at 10 we had a blast..

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012720.jpg
Great Photo Ops
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012723.jpg

great family pic! In the famous Gator Jaws
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012725.jpg

blurry dd being a ham...
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012727.jpg

Now - we had already purchased our tickets at undercover tourist...so walked right up...to the window where a lady stamps your hand. NOW here is the TIP...listening?:scratchin

You walk up to the window and the nice lady says if you want to ride the train its an extra 8 bucks a person. WELL what kid doesnt want to ride a train right? :banana:

BUT ....

:teacher: You MUST go immediately at 11am when it opens to ride the train. Believe me....don't wait if you want to do it.

We got swept up in the animals...and made the mistake of waitingto try to get on the one train stop around 2 pm. MISTAKE :guilty:

The line was so long there was no way we were waiting. So we spent 8x4 and never rode.:rolleyes: SO lesson learned..and I hope this helps someone! (it did look like a very nice train we just didnt think it was worth waiting 30 mins for - around 2pm when we got over there)


As soon as you walk in you see all these baby gators..notice the christmas decorations. The kids were all like WHOOAAA....whoa!! and I was like wow..that's a lotta gators!
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012730.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012731.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012732.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012746.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012733.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012735.jpg

Very nice poster explaining how BRUNO was a gator that is very agressive and had attacked numerous trainers....One man had his hand chomped and its on Utube if you want to watch! Im not kidding thats what the poster next to this one said! :scared1::scared1:
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012736.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012741.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012743.jpg
poster explaining the difference in Albino versus Leucistic gators.

The educational component of this park is awesome ...there are many people willing to answer your questions, and very helpful, and personable. I really got the feel of what Florida must have felt like before the theme parks moved in. So Awesome
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012747.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012767.jpg

Many more pics to come...we really loved gatorland...part 2 tomorrow! :yay:

JenSinMA
01-27-2012, 08:36 AM
The trip to Universal was literally 24 mins...BUT I have to say we seemed to hit traffic consistently on the way back from universal...on the 3 days we went...each time... so it put the trip back around 35-40 mins.

Thanks for the drive time info. That's so weird that it took so much longer getting back. I wonder if it was because the week after Christmas is busy in general in Orlando. My hope is that it will be less busy/trafficky all around when I'm there, the 3rd week of April. But like you said, I'm not really worried about time spent on the drive back, just curious how much time to allow to get up there in the morning for rope-drop.

Oh, and I officially booked at Windsor Hills--yay! :woohoo: 7 of us extended family in a 4BR house called McDuck's Pad. Can't WAIT!! My biggest concern now is that we won't have enough time to hit the parks *and* enjoy WH to the fullest. LOVE your pics of WH pool area. :love: Thanks and keep it coming! :cool1:

BrerMama
01-28-2012, 05:05 PM
I am crazy about wanting to go to Gatorland. I have no idea why I want to go so badly, I just am all "We're going to Gatorland." Thinking about doing it first thing on our break day, then we'll have the afternoon and evening to relax. Can't wait to read more!

preschoolmom
01-28-2012, 05:24 PM
I am crazy about wanting to go to Gatorland. I have no idea why I want to go so badly, I just am all "We're going to Gatorland." Thinking about doing it first thing on our break day, then we'll have the afternoon and evening to relax. Can't wait to read more!

This is me, too! When I just read your post to my husband, he was all, "I thought you wrote that!" :rotfl:

I'm looking forward to the next installment!

ddluvsdisney
01-29-2012, 06:16 PM
My boys will probably love Gatorland too. Now to convince DH. Lokking forward to more pics.

mikkiwikki
01-29-2012, 09:21 PM
Oh, and I officially booked at Windsor Hills--yay! :woohoo: 7 of us extended family in a 4BR house called McDuck's Pad. Can't WAIT!! My biggest concern now is that we won't have enough time to hit the parks *and* enjoy WH to the fullest. LOVE your pics of WH pool area. :love: Thanks and keep it coming! :cool1:

COOL JENSINMA! Im sure you will love it there!:banana::banana::yay:

Thanks for reading Gatorland part 2 coming up!

mikkiwikki
01-29-2012, 10:14 PM
Gatorland Upclose Encounters Show

This is a show that has bleachers. You basically find a spot & then two very nice fellows take to the stage ..mention they have a bunch of boxes delivered to them from all over the world.. Are there any volunteers from the audience that would be willing to help them with the contents of the boxes..??

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1264.jpg

Our hosts were very funny - cracking jokes every minute and keeping the audience laughing. They really engage the audience The show starts with them picking an especially squeamish audience member to assist them with the mystery boxes.

It goes something like this VIDEO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmpLXQrIjBU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmpLXQrIjBU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmpLXQrIjBU&feature=related)

IN the end they get an audience member to hold a tarantula...

Next up getting a group to hold a boa Constrictor.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1267.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012772.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012773.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012775.jpg

We really enjoyed this show and would not hesitate to see again.

More pics
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012738.jpg

Waterpark at Gatorland
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012739.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012740.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012742.jpg

NEXT we were off to the gator wrestling show

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012776.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012783.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012791.jpg

DD sitting on a gator
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012800-1.jpg

Next off to the Swamp walk . I have to say this was surreal...like untouched foliage as far as the eye could see...pristine untouched floridaland scapes ...so quiet and beautiful.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012804.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012805.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012806.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012807.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012808.jpg

Right around a corner here we saw the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life.. about 9 Inches across..more than the size of my hand...just sitting on a tree a bit away from the walkway...I spotted it then kinda encouraged everyone to walk quickly by it....Gave *everyone* the heeby jeebies...but very cool to see nontheless. This experience is the real deal

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012809.jpg

Cannot believe more people do not flock here...it's so much better than Animal kingdom! :wizard:

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012810.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012823.jpg


Ended our day with the huge tortoises.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012824.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012831.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012828.jpg

You can't tell from this pic but they are really quite active...this guy had just walked all around and stopped for a rest when we snapped this picture.

Next off to bed...hope you enjoyed...tomorrow...
GRINCHMAS at UNIVERSAL

I neglected to mention that we ate lunch here...standard burgers and fries...not much to report...good food for a good price.
You can see in the pic above my daughter holding a gatorland souvie sippie cup..(comes with all kids meals) She still has it and is begging to go back to Gatorland for spring break.

ddluvsdisney
01-30-2012, 08:51 AM
Looks nice. OMG:scared1: Didn't DD sitting on that gator make you nervous?! My DS10 would :love: that!!!
I'll have to show DH the pics. We'll see.
Looks like we'll be in FL the week before you.

mikkiwikki
01-30-2012, 06:13 PM
Looks nice. OMG:scared1: Didn't DD sitting on that gator make you nervous?! My DS10 would :love: that!!!
I'll have to show DH the pics. We'll see.
Looks like we'll be in FL the week before you.

YES...it did make me nauseous...actually. :scared1: Hubby was right behind her. I did NOT do it...but a lot of young kids did surprisingly

BABY_EINSTEIN'S_MOM
01-31-2012, 03:00 PM
Great thread! We are also returning to WH for 2 weeks again this summer. After looking at the pics, I think we will have to try Gatorland this time! My ds7 would love it! He watches Animal Planet 24/7, and dh is always watching Gatorboys!

mikkiwikki
01-31-2012, 10:26 PM
:lovestruc:lovestruc:lovestruc:lovestruc

On the 27th ( I know this is out of sequence I skipped ahead to Gatorland due to popular demand)
we decided not to go anywhere but Windsor Hills.

After Breakfast the kids wanted to go to the Playground. There is an awesome climbing castle in the background. I have to say me and my hubby met a lot of nice parents hanging out and watching their kids here. They also had (did not take a pic) one of those spinny things...VIDEO example HERE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_qdmLDhrRE) kids LOVED IT.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012694.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012695.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012696.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012697.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012698.jpg

We spent the afternoon swimming...but I did not bring my camera...

mikkiwikki
02-03-2012, 10:21 PM
just a little update...I just learned my car needed 4000 dollars worth of repairs...I ended up having to trade it in for a new car (requiring a 5000 dollar downpayment) & PLUS the tax man is DEFINITELY not being very kind...BOO boo bOO!

Due to these issues..and some unexpected HOME repairs...We were forced to cancel our spring break trip...bummer. Oh well. We will be back in December. I need to make another ticker. Guess Ill try to get into the Christmas spirit by watching the videos I made on one of our Universal dates. :sad1: here it is!

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1231.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1233.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1234.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1236.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1237.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1243.jpghttp://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1246.jpg

VIDEOS..click pics to see.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/th_IMG_1239.jpg (http://s275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/?action=view&current=IMG_1239.mp4)


http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/th_IMG_1238.jpg (http://s275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/?action=view&current=IMG_1238.mp4)

UP NEXT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER!!

QuirkyBelle
02-04-2012, 12:26 PM
Wow, those Gatorland photos bring up some good memories. As part of a school trip down to Florida, our group got to participate in a special event at the place. We were there at night , got our own private show, and took a walk down the boardwalk shining flashlights in the gators eyes. We also got to hold a baby gator and a snake. It was pretty awesome! It was great to see you pictures though, since now I know what it looks like during the day. :lmao

Grinchmas looks like a great show!

mikkiwikki
02-05-2012, 01:14 PM
Wow, those Gatorland photos bring up some good memories. As part of a school trip down to Florida, our group got to participate in a special event at the place. We were there at night , got our own private show, and took a walk down the boardwalk shining flashlights in the gators eyes. We also got to hold a baby gator and a snake. It was pretty awesome! It was great to see you pictures though, since now I know what it looks like during the day. :lmao:

Hey QuirkyBelle! ;)
That sounds like fun. We didn't get to hold a baby gator but they brought out a crazy lizard with a really long tongue.

Grinchmas looks like a great show!

Yes it was a nice day with this show. The kids really enjoyed it.
Im enjoying your trip report too. Cant wait for more pics! :thumbsup2

ddluvsdisney
02-05-2012, 03:02 PM
Grinchmas looks like a cute show.
Too bad about your spring trip :( Don't cars stink?!
Will you go for the actual Christmas holiday again? Sounds fun.
I'm trying to talk DH into going next year for Christmas. We'll see.

aussieGeorge68
02-05-2012, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the post. Loved the photos from Windsor Hills and Gatorland. All I need now is a way to convince my wife to go to gatorland. :thumbsup2

Regards
George.

mikkiwikki
02-08-2012, 06:30 PM
Thanks for the post. Loved the photos from Windsor Hills and Gatorland. All I need now is a way to convince my wife to go to gatorland. :thumbsup2

Regards
George.


HI AussieGeorge68 -
Glad to oblige. More pics to come tonight! :thumbsup2

mikkiwikki
02-08-2012, 06:58 PM
One PIC from the end of our last Universal day..Apparently Universal is going to finally make a movie about the LORAX.

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/P1012689.jpg

MOVIE TRAILER CLICK HERE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bHdzTUNw-4). I can't wait to see it.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

momlee4
02-08-2012, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the pics and detailed post about Gatorland! I shall have to add it to our agenda for our trip in October. I like that it won't take a whole day to do. We can maybe spend the other half of our day in one of the Dis waterparks (gotta use up our Water Parks +More days!) We've got 3 boys and I'm sure 1 of 'em if not all 3 would love to have their pic taken sitting on a 'gator. Very cool!
Sorry to here about your car. Bummer.

shalom
02-12-2012, 10:33 AM
Excellent tip on the train at Gatorland -- now I just have to remember it should we ever got there! :rolleyes1


Very nice poster explaining how BRUNO was a gator that is very agressive and had attacked numerous trainers....One man had his hand chomped and its on Utube if you want to watch! Im not kidding thats what the poster next to this one said! :scared1::scared1:


:scared1:

There is one on Youtube about a gator biting someone's head, or at least that's what the blurb says -- I have not watched it, thank you very much! :p

But the sign you photographed made me think of this footage, of a crocodile grabbing a lawn mower, which cracked me up last year (not the same report but many of the same visuals). Different reptile, but I suspect the Bruno adventures weren't too different!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo52h53pgIU&feature=endscreen&NR=1


ext off to the Swamp walk . I have to say this was surreal...like untouched foliage as far as the eye could see...pristine untouched floridaland scapes ...so quiet and beautiful.

:cool2:

That reminds me of a State Park we went to near Myrtle Beach (which was admittedly less jungle-y, but lots of little wildlife) -- I did not expect the one at Gatorland to be that good! :thumbsup2

mikkiwikki
02-13-2012, 06:15 PM
Excellent tip on the train at Gatorland -- now I just have to remember it should we ever got there! :rolleyes1

:scared1:

There is one on Youtube about a gator biting someone's head, or at least that's what the blurb says -- I have not watched it, thank you very much! :p

But the sign you photographed made me think of this footage, of a crocodile grabbing a lawn mower, which cracked me up last year (not the same report but many of the same visuals). Different reptile, but I suspect the Bruno adventures weren't too different!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo52h53pgIU&feature=endscreen&NR=1



:rotfl::rotfl: I love the video...I can imagine bruno doing the exact same thing. He was just as big and scary. :scared1:

mikkiwikki
02-13-2012, 07:18 PM
On this date we decided to travel to the Orlando Science center. ;)

http://www.osc.org/

This was one of my kids favorite dates. There were TONS of hands on activities, and Ill totally do a disservice to it with the number of pictures I took.

However here is my report.

This is us walking from the garage to the Science center :goodvibes
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1289.jpg

ON that date they had a stingray feeding - you can see the stingray climbing up the glass trying to get a treat from the handler.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1284.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1286.jpg

Also there was a baby ALLIGATOR feeding which my kids really enjoyed watching, however I did not get any pictures.

They had a cool hands on exhibit about SOUND - you could SEE soundwaves with this exhibit. and there was a gravitron in the background
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1272.jpg

And an exhibit about gravity using pinewood derby models.
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011%20Public/IMG_1274.jpg

There was a floor dedicated to guitars..and a flying plane simulator, and huge 3d car ride simulators.

For lunch we went to a SUBWAY that was connected on the 2nd floor in a very nice cafeteria.

Then we went back to see the 'ORANGE factory' which was a cool hands on activity for kids where you picked oranges from a tree, and put them through a conveyor belt, and packaged them in boxes....The kids really loved this and didnt want to leave.


My kids made me promise we will go back there on our next trip. BIG huge WIN on this date.

aussieGeorge68
02-14-2012, 03:09 AM
Excellent tip on the train at Gatorland -- now I just have to remember it should we ever got there! :rolleyes1



:scared1:

There is one on Youtube about a gator biting someone's head, or at least that's what the blurb says -- I have not watched it, thank you very much! :p

But the sign you photographed made me think of this footage, of a crocodile grabbing a lawn mower, which cracked me up last year (not the same report but many of the same visuals). Different reptile, but I suspect the Bruno adventures weren't too different!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo52h53pgIU&feature=endscreen&NR=1



Thats a great video, the crocodile park where Elvis lives is only 60miles away, I should go and check him out. If you ever come to Australia you should check out the late Steve Irwin's Australia zoo. The crocodiles there are huge, the noise when the crocodile snaps in the feeding show reverberates around the stadium, it's something that you need to experience in person to really appreciate. Unfortunately there is no way any reptile park in Australia is going to let you touch a croc or alligator, so Gatorworld here we come.

QuirkyBelle
02-21-2012, 05:23 PM
I love science museums! They're so much fun! :goodvibes

mikkiwikki
02-27-2012, 10:07 PM
I love science museums! They're so much fun! :goodvibes


Yes! So very true! And another great tip to save money...:)

We are members with the ASTC

Article about here...>>CLICK (http://joanne-laspina.suite101.com/save-money-with-science-museum-membership-a189224)

Basically we have a local science museum that is a member of the ASTC...if you get a annual membership (70 bucks for a family of 4) you can go as many times during the year as you like AS WELL as free admission to any of the participating ASTC museums! We went to visit family in Boston and got into the Boston Museum of Science for FREE. Similarly the Orlando Science Center was FREE. We totally visit plenty of science museums throughout the year to justify the annual fee, and we love visiting towns and looking up their science museums. Very budget friendly and the kids are learning something new all the time. Win-win. :wizard:

stacy347
02-28-2012, 07:22 AM
Yes! So very true! And another great tip to save money...:)

We are members with the ASTC

Article about here...>>CLICK (http://joanne-laspina.suite101.com/save-money-with-science-museum-membership-a189224)

Basically we have a local science museum that is a member of the ASTC...if you get a annual membership (70 bucks for a family of 4) you can go as many times during the year as you like AS WELL as free admission to any of the participating ASTC museums! We went to visit family in Boston and got into the Boston Museum of Science for FREE. Similarly the Orlando Science Center was FREE. We totally visit plenty of science museums throughout the year to justify the annual fee, and we love visiting towns and looking up their science museums. Very budget friendly and the kids are learning something new all the time. Win-win. :wizard:

Thank you so much for posting about this! We have a local science museum that participates as well, but I had no idea about the reciprocating centers. We'll definitely be using this on our road trip in June.

Glad you had such a good trip ~ looks like a lot of fun was had by all! :goodvibes

mikkiwikki
02-28-2012, 11:30 PM
Thank you so much for posting about this! We have a local science museum that participates as well, but I had no idea about the reciprocating centers. We'll definitely be using this on our road trip in June.

Glad you had such a good trip ~ looks like a lot of fun was had by all! :goodvibes

Cool! glad to help another Diser save some CHA CHING! ;) :thumbsup2

We totally had so much fun - so much so that my kids were asking that we go back daily to OSC..alas we never got back here.
We will definitely be back in December 2012 tho!

Here is a better link about the astc to find out if your destination is participating. >> http://www.astc.org/

2Pirates2Princesses
03-01-2012, 07:15 PM
Thank you for doing this trip report and for showing us the *other* side :)
I am also looking into staying at Windsor Hills for our next Disney/Orlando vacation and going through either vacation central florida or magical vacation homes as they both seem to have really great rates. I think we may very well be done with staying at the Disney resorts as I can no longer justify the price for accommodations that our family of six can fit in and I don't want to feel dependant on discount promotions for us to be able to stay at a Disney resort without breaking the bank. We will definitely visit the Disney resorts for occasional character meals or other dining reservations; but I think staying in a condo with our own full kitchen, washer and dryer, and more space will fit our needs and vacationing style better anyway, especially for a week long trip. Thanks again for your report. I think staying offsite in a condo will give us more incentive to visit Gatorland. I've always heard great things about this park and based on your photos and report it seems like my kids would have more fun there than at Animal Kingdom :thumbsup2

ddluvsdisney
03-01-2012, 07:35 PM
Looks like fun. Science museums are great- kids don't even know they're learning. We've been to Boston MOS a few times. We had a family membership to our local zoo which participated in a similiar reciprocating membership w/ other zoos. It's nice to go somewhere different and not worry about the cost.:thumbsup2

We'll be in Disney in a little over a month now- time is flying by!!!:woohoo:

shalom
03-02-2012, 01:04 PM
We are members with the ASTC


Love our ASTC membership! We use freebie museums for breaks on long car trips -- there's one in Cartersville, GA, right off of I-75 that has a great rock collection. :)

We used to vacillate between ASTC membership and ACM (Association of Children's Museums), since the older kids had seen so many Children's Museums they were not that excited about them any more (and because the kids that love Children's Museums would just as soon go to the one in Indy, which isn't a member anyhow); then we found a museum we hit every year anyhow that offers memberships in both. :cool1:

There's the same deal with a lot of local history museums (Time Travelers) as well as gardens and conservatories (American Horticultural Society), which we have off and on, although I admit we don't get as much use out of those as we do our ASTC. And the local zoo is reciprocal with the one near Orlando (Central Florida Zoo, I think?), so hubby ran youngest up there last time we were out (no one else was interested that day). I just wish I could find an organization like that for aquariums. ;)

Booknut
04-30-2012, 04:12 PM
I've really enjoyed reading your TR - we're staying at Windsor Hills next August, condo is all booked up! And we are now adding Gatorland to our itinerary too, I think we will all love it - although I reckon the swamp walk will be a killer in the August heat/humidity.

Can't wait to read more!

mikkiwikki
05-23-2012, 10:14 PM
Thank you for doing this trip report and for showing us the *other* side :)
I am also looking into staying at Windsor Hills for our next Disney/Orlando vacation and going through either vacation central florida or magical vacation homes as they both seem to have really great rates. I think we may very well be done with staying at the Disney resorts as I can no longer justify the price for accommodations that our family of six can fit in and I don't want to feel dependant on discount promotions for us to be able to stay at a Disney resort without breaking the bank. We will definitely visit the Disney resorts for occasional character meals or other dining reservations; but I think staying in a condo with our own full kitchen, washer and dryer, and more space will fit our needs and vacationing style better anyway, especially for a week long trip. Thanks again for your report. I think staying offsite in a condo will give us more incentive to visit Gatorland. I've always heard great things about this park and based on your photos and report it seems like my kids would have more fun there than at Animal Kingdom :thumbsup2

sorry for my way overdue response on your note.
I Just wanted to comment that I totally agree with your sentiment....I fear we are spoiled at WH and I'm not sure we can justify going back to disney...if we go it will be for a brief few dates....we have booked AOA for two nights when we arrive for our upcoming December trip...long story...basically hubby cannot fly down with us, so we are using MAGICAL express so we can forgoe paying for a rental car for 2 nights...and I get to see AOA with the kids ....for two nights..but then we are off to WH for two weeks!! our new love :banana: Wait for the TRIP REPORT!:woohoo:

mikkiwikki
05-23-2012, 10:52 PM
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1352-1.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1353.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1354.jpg
CREAM of Mushroom soup
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1356.jpg
Kids playing
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1360.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1362.jpg

http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1364.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1365.jpg
http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj312/mikkiwikkiie/Christmas%202011/IMG_1366.jpg

mikkiwikki
07-26-2012, 07:53 PM
I've really enjoyed reading your TR - we're staying at Windsor Hills next August, condo is all booked up! And we are now adding Gatorland to our itinerary too, I think we will all love it - although I reckon the swamp walk will be a killer in the August heat/humidity.

Can't wait to read more!

HI! I was just re-reading my old TR and wanted to say we are going to be there in August too! :yay:
Guess I better get started on my NEXT trip REPORT! ..