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redoschi
01-19-2013, 12:54 PM
Hi!

This isn't a Trip Report yet! We're actually boarding our flight in about 20 hours and I don't know how often I'll be able to update this thread during our 16-days trip! But after a long PTR (Introducing WDW to my Fiancee's family - A January 2013 Pre-Trip Report (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2976888)) we'll finally be going! :cool1:

Here's the roll-call for this trip!

Eduardo - Me - 28 :donald:
Bruna - DFiancee (DFi) - 28 :daisy: (we should have a true Daisy Duck Smilie!)
Carla - Bruna's DMom (DMIL) - 53 :fish:
Dante - Bruna's DBro (DBIL) - 16 :stitch:

This is my 6th trip to WDW (my first was when I was 5 in 1989!) and Bruna's 2nd, but both Carla and Dante have never been to Orlando! They have visited Disneyland Paris but never a Disney park in the US!

As I'm a Disney Commando Planner we have it all planned out, but not down to times for attractions as I think that may cause more stress than be effective! :lmao:

Well, hope you enjoy this trip report where I get to introduce WDW to my future in-laws and maybe get them bitten by the Disney bug! :rotfl:




List of Day-to-Day posts

01/20 - Flight Day (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050332#post47467312)
01/21 - Outlet Day (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050332#post47467312)
01/22 - SeaWorld (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050332#post47519136)
01/23 - Islands of Adventure (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050332#post47792751)

Xclusive2WDW
01-19-2013, 07:38 PM
I think I'm the first of many fellow commando's who will be making it over here:cool1:Have fun, looking forward to all the magic you guys encounter on your special trip:wizard:

shalom
01-20-2013, 03:05 PM
Have to see if you do any updates while there -- I sure didn't, but of course I'm more laid back to start with. ;)

redoschi
01-27-2013, 06:32 AM
After a week without updates (the wifi at the Clarion Inn was inconsistent to say the least!) I decided to at least log in to give you all a small update!

We have had a great week in Orlando! No Disney parks yet,as you can see on our plans on the PTR. We've been to downtown Disney a couple times for the last couple nights though!

We're a bit late now to grab breakfast and head to Tampa for Busch gardens, so I'll update again later.

redoschi
02-07-2013, 12:02 AM
With most disney parks staying open later at night than off-site parks (and sometimes opening earlier on EMH mornings) it became increasingly more difficult to stop at night to check the DIS.

The trip was awesome and I can't wait to tell you all about it! :goodvibes

Its really late here in Brazil and I have to return to work tomorrow morning, but soon I'll start posting about the trip!

Xclusive2WDW
02-09-2013, 08:37 PM
Sounds great and I'm here:goodvibes Glad you had such a good time and looking forward to hearing about everything!!!

redoschi
02-10-2013, 07:47 PM
Ok, let's get this TR officially started! :cool1:

Well, where to start?

Well, I won't post (yet) what changed from what we originally planned. I had some pretty mutinous companions! :rotfl: Let's get to those days and I'll tell you all about it.

I haven't gone through all our pictures yet (they are on a couple memory cards of my new Rebel T4i camera and 3 iPhones so we have to put them all together and that is taking some time! :lmao:) so later I'll see if I have pictures of these first couple days that will be told in this post and edit them in!

January 20th - Flight Day
Well, our first day of the trip was pretty uneventful, we took a plane from So Paulo to Miami, passed through immigration and spent about 4 hours in the airport before taking another flight to Orlando.
We had some hot dogs at Nathan's at the airport while waiting and they were pretty good, specially after an in-flight lunch :crazy2:!

When we arrived at Orlando International Airport around 11pm we retrived our checked luggage and went to rent a car from Alamo. I had reserved a standard car and even asked about upgrading to an SUV, but we decided we didn't need the extra size and that the upgrade money would be best spent on souvenirs and meals! :thumbsup2 The guy did give us an upgrade to a Full Size car for free though so it was nice to ask about the upgrade instead of just getting the booked car! :woohoo:

We finally left the airport and went to the Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista and arrived there at about 1am (which was 4am back in Brazil!) We were all exhausted and just needed a good sleep!


January 21st - Outlet Day
I got up early and went to retrieve our Amazon packages from the front desk (the storage department was closed when we checked in). I had ordered my new Rebel T4i camera (my late Xmas gift to myself) and a luggage set from Samsonite (we traveled with very little luggage as my parents gave me and Bruna a hardside luggage set for Xmas so that we can have a set of our own when we get married in September!).

After that we went out for breakfast and stopped at the first place we found, an IHOP at the Crossroads, and then we went directly to the Premium Outlets at the International Drive (old Belz/Prime outlets).

Even though the outlet would open at 10am, a couple stores would open early with special sales because of MLK weekend so we arrived around 9am.

After some shopping in the morning we decided to take a break (crowds were beginning to form at the outlets) and grab lunch elsewhere.

KFC had a brief time here in Brazil in the 90s and has left some nice childhood memories for us , so we decided to give it a try. :idea:
All I can say is that when, back then, they said it would be 8 pieces of chicken there would be 8 pieces a little larger than regular chicken nuggets. Certainly not what we found there: it was a bucket with almost 8 whole chickens! :eek::eek::eek:
We ordered one of these for DBIL and DMIL while me and DFi got chicken sandwiches! After a hearty meal which we surely couldn't finish, we decided to give up and continue our shopping journey.

We continued the journey to the Premium Outlets at Vineland Avenue (near the Crossroads and our hotel)! Some more shopping and I went to look for my wedding suit. Not as hard to find as a wedding gown, but still pretty hard! I tried some suits until I finally found one that looked good on me (Reminder to myself: It will certainly look even better if I lose a few pounds, so its time to work out hard at the gym until then! :yay:)

We were tired because of the jet lag so we left the outlet, stopped at Walgreens and grabbed some sandwiches and drinks to eat at the hotel (the Clarion had an in-room microwave!)

----------------

I promise that from now on days will have more interesting stuff as we'll finally go to the parks!

Next - Sea World

Xclusive2WDW
02-11-2013, 02:21 AM
Sounds great so far:thumbsup2 How were the deals while shopping? That was funny about KFC, yes there chicken size has been the topic of much discussion here in the states for the past decade now. It's gotten a little crazy to say the least. I'm looking forward to everything else, especially some of the non-Disney places. I just can't spend more than 1 day away from WDW while in the vicinity and I usually go to Universal. Your TR just may sway me:)

redoschi
02-12-2013, 12:08 PM
Sounds great so far:thumbsup2 How were the deals while shopping? That was funny about KFC, yes there chicken size has been the topic of much discussion here in the states for the past decade now. It's gotten a little crazy to say the least. I'm looking forward to everything else, especially some of the non-Disney places. I just can't spend more than 1 day away from WDW while in the vicinity and I usually go to Universal. Your TR just may sway me:)

Nice to know KFC has generated discussion as it sure felt crazy! :scared:

About the deals, DFi managed to find some great prices at the Lancome Factory Store, we all got new sneakers at Nike (we're already planning on those for the trip!) at nice prices (there weren't huge discounts there, but at least prices were lower than in regular stores and a LOT lower than in Brazil!), and we also found some nice deals in stores such as Tommy, Gap, Izod and Levi's. :thumbsup2

Xclusive2WDW
02-12-2013, 04:26 PM
Nice to know KFC has generated discussion as it sure felt crazy! :scared:

About the deals, DFi managed to find some great prices at the Lancome Factory Store, we all got new sneakers at Nike (we're already planning on those for the trip!) at nice prices (there weren't huge discounts there, but at least prices were lower than in regular stores and a LOT lower than in Brazil!), and we also found some nice deals in stores such as Tommy, Gap, Izod and Levi's. :thumbsup2

I know what you mean about Nike and their prices:rotfl:Tommy and Levi's I am interested in, along with Coach, The Disney store and a few others. My BFF loves the Gap so I can probably rack up on stuff for her kids in there. Good for you guy's:thumbsup2

redoschi
02-13-2013, 06:25 AM
I know what you mean about Nike and their prices:rotfl:Tommy and Levi's I am interested in, along with Coach, The Disney store and a few others. My BFF loves the Gap so I can probably rack up on stuff for her kids in there. Good for you guy's:thumbsup2

The Disney Character Warehouse also had some nice items on sale, but since we hadn't been to any disney store yet during this vacation we didn't take advantage of it as much as we could.

I did manage to grab a couple of Mickey iPhone 4/4S cases for under $20 (both!) while we later noticed that similar cases were $32 each or 2 for $50 in regular stores! :cool1:

Xclusive2WDW
02-13-2013, 08:47 AM
The Disney Character Warehouse also had some nice items on sale, but since we hadn't been to any disney store yet during this vacation we didn't take advantage of it as much as we could.

I did manage to grab a couple of Mickey iPhone 4/4S cases for under $20 (both!) while we later noticed that similar cases were $32 each or 2 for $50 in regular stores! :cool1:
:thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2 Now that's what I'm talking about, over 75%off :woohoo:

redoschi
02-15-2013, 07:20 PM
January 22nd - Sea World (1st day)

After a much better (and longer considering the night before was about 4 hours of sleep) night's sleep, we decided to try another breakfast venue: First Watch.

I heard about First Watch on one of the many WDW podcasts I've listened to in the past few months. There are some locations and we tried the one on Sand Lake Rd west of I-4.
It was very good. Great atmosphere, great prices and great food! :thumbsup2

After that we headed out to Sea World, got a great parking spot as we arrived about 30 minutes before park opening and with free parking (loved to get the Annual Pass!). I then retrieved my Annual Pass at the machines and we got into the park!

We went near Manta and waited there for ropedrop! :yay:

Let me make a stop here for an intro on my companions! Both me and DFi are roller coaster and thrill ride freaks (I love them all and the only one DFi doesn't like is Mission Space: Orange), while DMIL and DBIL had done very few thrill rides in their lives! We first thought that DBIL would accompany us in all such rides while DMIL would join in the milder ones.

We were mistaken as she decided to give it a try on Manta as her first ride in Orlando! :yay::yay::yay:

We had with us 2 bags on most days: my camera bag and a small rucksack DFi was using to carry her and DMIL's wallets and phones, a water bottle and occasionally a sweatshirt/sweater. So before entering Manta we had to store those at the lockers, which SeaWorld charges 50 cents :sad2: unlike similar lockers in Universal parks or like Disney who lets you take your bags on all rides with you. Of course Disney rides are much tamer than Manta, but I'll get to that later.

As I was saying, all four of us got into Manta as at that time, just after rope drop, wait was minimal! :cool1: Me and DFi, as expected, loved it! :thumbsup2 The others also liked it a lot, but they were still getting used to roller coasters. As this was our very first ride of the trip, we decided to purchase the ride photo which I'll post here later!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8246/8563699018_2f7acb0976_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8563699018/)

{Edit!} Finally I managed to add some pictures! This is also a good picture to introduce the cast of this trip report!
I'm (Eduardo) on the far left of the picture, DFi (Bruna) by my side, DMIL (Carla) to her right and on the far right is DBIL (Dante)!

As we already had our bags in the locker, we decided to give it another go! That was a mistake! DMIL had mentioned that she felt it was too shaky and after two consecutive runs she felt a bit sick! :sick: DBIL also felt a bit dizzier on the second time.

Thankfully this didn't stop them from doing the other coasters and rides, but DMIL avoided rides with lots of loops after that.

We visited the amazing Manta aquarium which we had a glimpse while in line for the ride, one of the best lines ever! We then headed to Kraken, which has been one of my favorites for a long time! DMIL waited outside and we went through it!

After Kraken it was getting close to the Clyde & Seamore showtime. So we grabbed a couple of Dippin Dotz and got ourselves some nice seats, higher up, but in the mid section. They haven't changed this show in a long time, but it is always very funny! :rotfl2:

We then took a ride on the Skytower! Thankfully SeaWorld has stopped charging for this ride, as everyone should have a chance to see the park from above! Here is a pic from the beginning of our way up where you can see the Waterfront, Manta and Journey to Atlantis in the background!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8099/8563717548_3ea353e314_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8563717548/)

Next was our reservation for Sharks Underwater Grill. On my last trip, this was probably the best restaurant we had tried (and we had tried Jiko).

For those who have never seen it, it is similar to the Coral Reef in setting, with one distinct change, the surrounding tank is filled with sharks as the restaurant shares its aquarium with the classic Shark Encounter! It has several tables that are made in a way so all your party can be always facing the sharks, which is very cool!

Unfortunately I had already noticed that the Ahi Tuna dish that I had loved last trip was no longer on the menu, but we tried both the tempura shrimp and a scallops dish as well as an appetizer and a banana creme brle! Everything was great! The service was also incredible! It has surely solidified its place in our "must-do each trip" restaurant list!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8381/8562613105_77cb5e1432_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562613105/)

After lunch we saw the sharks from the Shark Encounter tunnel (managing even to get a blurry glimpse of the restaurant) and walked to the Pacific Point Preserve to see the seals and sea lions. As always there is one particular sea lion that manages to take center stage and grab most of the fishes in a section! This guy's only competition was the seagulls!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8389/8562609709_3a3637d207_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562609709/)

From there we crossed the park to the area of Shamu Stadium (we knew that midweek Shamu only had 2 daily shows and therefore only one more show for that day at 5h30, so we left it for our 2nd Sea World day on Saturday) and entered Wild Arctic.

Last time we had been there, it was Christmas time and the simulator was transformed into the Polar Express. It is much better as a train than as an helicopter! It was way too bumpy! If you have any motion sickness or dizziness problems, go with the walking way! Because the rest of the attraction is sure worth it! A polar bear, belugas and walruses are great to watch and we even manage to see the belugas being fed!

It was getting closer to the time for Blue Horizons! We crossed the park again and decided to give it another go on Manta (just me and Bruna) and on Kraken (the four of us as Carla decided to give it a try!) and got some nice seats for the show!

This show is very beautiful, but it gives too much time and attention to the acrobats! We want more of the dolphins!!!

As planned we then left the park early to go to a bridal shop, Minnie's Outlet near Florida Mall. Well, that was the plan, but we just couldn't find the store! I had the address, had a GPS app on my iPhone and it just wasn't there! We tried several shopping areas nearby, but without success.

We stopped by the Toys R Us and continued to the Florida Mall. After some more walking around and a little shopping we stopped at their food court for some pretty good sandwiches at Charley's! Then it was back to the hotel!

Next - Islands of Adventure

redoschi
03-12-2013, 05:44 AM
Sorry for taking so long between updates :worried:, I'll try to speed them up!

Am I being too descriptive of the days? Should I make these daily reports shorter? :confused3

This past month was extremely hurried, lots of things to decide and do! We're less than 6 months from the wedding now! With still a lot to do! :scared1: :hourglass

Well, yesterday I finally claimed my PhotoCD from Disney's Photopass! :cool1:
The photos would expire TODAY! That alone is an indication of how hurried things are around here!:rotfl: I had never imagined I'd leave for the last possible day to claim the pictures, though of course I had logged in there several times to add a new border to a pic, etc.

I haven't uploaded any pictures (Photopass or otherwise!) to photobucket or other photo services, but will try to upload some soon so that I can decorate these posts!

I promise that the Islands of Adventure day is coming really soon! :lmao:

redoschi
03-13-2013, 09:55 PM
Finally another true update!

January 23rd - Islands of Adventure

We woke up earlier as I knew that we needed to be at rope drop to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with minimal wait.

We stopped for breakfast at Ponderosa Steakhouse at International Drive (I remember it being a bit cheaper, but it was nice to have a hearty breakfast!) and continued on our way to Universal Orlando!

Why do they insist on leading you to the top level (5th) of the parking lot and having you park in the sun instead of letting those who arrived early to park on 3rd level which is shaded and doesn't require elevators or escalators to get to the walkway? :confused3

We passed directly through CityWalk and headed to the Will-Call machines to get our tickets. DMIL had paid for these so I asked for her credit card to confirm her identity on the machine. She left that card in Brazil and was travelling with another one! :scared1: I almost freaked out, but we managed to get our tickets from the regular booth with her passport as confirmation! After this we joined DFi and DBIL in line for the park.

When the park opened we rushed through Port of Entry, turned right and then took the shorter path through Seuss Landing (turn left just after you enter the Island) into The Lost Continent and then continued into Hogsmeade!

We did Ollivander's first (I believe we were in the first or second group of the day! :thumbsup2) and it was amazing! That guy was totally in character as was the room! Really cool and it was good that we did that first as lines did grow up fast!

We then headed to the castle and HP & the Forbidden Journey! What a great queue! On our first time we passed it rather quickly as there was still minimal wait, but on the second time (just me and DFi as the others thought it made them a little too dizzy to go a second time back-to-back!) we managed to enjoy it a bit more (enjoy a queue! That is something you don't see everyday! :lmao:).

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8376/8563739746_9852c4c4e9_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8563739746/)

In addition to the queue, this ride is incredible, mixing animatronics with projected screens (the parts that made them dizzier!) and lots of special effects in an adventure through Hogwarts grounds meeting some of its most famous inhabitants as well as some of the villains (not he-who-must-not-be-named though). The attraction as well as the whole of the WWoHP is focused on the first 4 movies/books and set during the TriWizard tournament of the Goblet of Fire (4th book/movie).

You can see construction on the side of Dragon Challenge where it is rumored to be built a train ride to connect to Universal Studios and the former Jaws site where a new part of WWoHP is supposedly being built (there is a huge construction site on that area as well). These new areas/rides will most likely bring to life the last 3 books / 4 movies!

After this we continued into Jurassic Park as Hogsmeade was getting crowded already!

We did the River adventure first (I love this ride! But again, I'm in love with Dinosaurs since I was a little kid, so what's not to like! :rotfl:)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8385/8562635623_2441b6142c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562635623/) http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8089/8562638741_5709ba0549.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562638741/)

We then walked around the island for a bit and tried out the exhibits in the Discovery Center. Too bad that Triceratops Encounter was closed! I heard it opened for the holidays, but it always closes soon after to reopen only in the summer! I've seen it in 2000 and it was pretty cool!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8377/8563744276_39c26c3721_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8563744276/)

We then decided to have an early lunch and I had read a lot about Thunder Falls Terrace, but it didn't appeal to us, it was dark and closed, while the Discovery Center's Burger Digs had some tables on the balcony overlooking the center lagoon! What a great choice! The view was great and the burgers were pretty good, specially with the big toppings table!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8108/8562639601_2ce1389843_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562639601/)

After lunch it was time to do something mild, so we chose the Eighth voyage of Sinbad! This is a funny show and in its entrance there is the always great Mystic Fountain!

We walked a bit through the smaller Lost Continent compared to what it was before WWoHP (the armory store is still open though!) and tried to go to Poseidon's Fury, but there was a wait time of about 40 minutes (a show must have just begun, because this attraction isn't usually crowded enough to have people waiting in line for more than 1the current presentation).

So we continued to Seuss Landing, an island where I previously had only walked through quickly, but we decided to try on The Cat in the Hat. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was just like the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, with one important difference: with Seuss characters that us in Brazil have little to no contact during childhood! Apparently nowadays it is at least available, but not really a part of our culture, while 20 years ago when we were kids there was nothing! So it was interesting but we left with the impression that these stories are WAY too scary for children! :lmao:

I stopped by Guest Relations near the park's entrance to try to get our Blue Man Group tickets, but since it was already the day of the show, we would have to get them from the theater's box office.

Finally we headed into Marvel Super Hero Island! The Hulk coaster had a short line so we hopped in, twice! DMIL decided to try to get a picture of us on the ride, so in the about 20 minutes it took us to go on the ride twice, she managed to take almost 300 pictures of pretty much all roller coaster cars! Heavy duty, but she managed to get us! :cool:

We're the ones in the last viewable row. From top to bottom is a random guy, DBIL, DFi and me.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8366/8563755302_2968d3541c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8563755302/)http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8369/8562649313_473bac23ac.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562649313/)



We then went into Spiderman, which was a great attraction in the past, and now it is even more Amazing! :charac4: The 4K resolution really makes a difference and we were really enjoying it, when suddenly everything stopped! The movie shut down, the car stopped and a little later lights turned on throughout the attraction! We stayed stopped there for about 10 minutes before they managed to turn it back on. When we reached the exit point, team members already told us that who wanted to get on it again for a full ride as they had solved the problem, so they transported us to the front of the line and we got on again! :banana:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8101/8562660453_8311579338_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8562660453/)
Here is a pic of an Iron Man poster inside the attraction where we stopped!

We got ourselves some Dippin Dotz, made a quick stop to browse the comics shop and continued into Toon Lagoon! This island has a great theming, but I'm not much into getting wet (anything more than Splash or Jurassic Park already bothers me, except in hot days, which this was not!) so we looked around, took some pictures and continued through JP back to Hogsmeade!

Time for some butterbeer! I had heard a lot about it so I wanted to try, originally I thought of getting both a regular and a frozen one, but DFI and DMIL weren't at all interested in trying the famous wizards drink, so I shared a regular one with DBIL! It is good, but super sweet! We sat down for a while and continued to walk around Hogsmeade and browse all the cool shops!

On this day Dragon Challenge was still in rehab, so we would have to return to IoA on another day to do it! :goodvibes

We decided to try Poseidon's Fury again and on our way there we stopped at the magic shop in The Lost Continent where a short magic show was about to start! It is a cool show, the magician was funny and knew how to entertain his audience, but all tricks are there to sell their kits, of course! :rolleyes1

We finally did Poseidon's Fury (this is a strange show, but I always enjoy it!) and decided to do a few more runs on Hulk (including one on front row! :thumbsup2) before leaving the park.

With out BMG show at 8pm we decided to stay in this part of the Citywalk lake (my original idea was to have dinner at Pastamore or Bubba Gump) and grab a pizza at NBA City. It was actually pretty good as it was not crowded and our waitress was super helpful!)

The last part of our day was the Blue Man Group show. Me and DFi had seen the previous installment in 2007 as well as their "How to be a Megastar 2.0" tour. This new show was funny and still had the best musical numbers and sketches, but we felt that they made more scenes with participation of "volunteers" and reduced the number of musical numbers. For us those were the best parts, so this new version is still good and a lot of fun (specially the ending which I won't describe for those who haven't seen it), but not as good as the other shows we had seen of them!

A strange thing was that in the row in front of us (we sat in the second row of the non-poncho zone) there was a couple with 2 dogs! And they weren't guide dogs! They were even being transported in pet transportation duffel bags! This was the first time we saw such a thing in a major theater!

Next - Universal Studios

redoschi
03-16-2013, 06:46 PM
Finally I decided to take some time and upload some pictures to Flickr to include them here!

I was gonna use Photobucket, but with iPhoto's feature of easily sharing to Flickr settled the deal in its favor! ;)

I've included some pictures of our Sea World and Islands of Adventure days and will try to post another update soon!

Xclusive2WDW
03-17-2013, 10:42 AM
Looks like you guys were having a blast. You have such a great point about the weird ways Universal does parking. Sounds great so far, looking forward to everything:goodvibes

redoschi
04-10-2013, 12:29 PM
Sorry for taking so long between updates!

The wedding preparations are taking most of my free time! :faint:

I'll try to post another day until the end of the week! :thumbsup2

redoschi
04-23-2013, 07:22 AM
Here is another day (finally! :lmao:)

January 24th - Universal Studios

This morning we decided not to take chances and as our last non-Disney breakfast we returned to First Watch for another great breakfast including some really huge pancakes!

We then continued to Universal, again having to park on the uncovered top floor.:confused3 After citywalk we turned right this time and into Universal Studios.

When we first entered the park, a little after opening, we decided to do the new rollercoaster first, Rip Ride Rockit! We all thought it was really cool to choose your songs, but the actual coaster isn't that different from a regular amusement park coaster. DBIL loved it though!

After riding it twice we continued to the other coaster of the park, Revenge of the Mummy! It had almost no lines(actually RRR also had no lines)! This time, as there wouldn't be any loops, we were joined by DMIL. Awesome ride :thumbsup2, I actually didn't remember most of it from our last trip (with good reason, as we did it once after a 45 minute - 1 hour line when it was saying 20 min on the sign! :scared1:)!

We rode it twice before going to Twister. We waited a little bit for the next show. This is a nice attraction, with great theming, but I still miss the Ghostbusters attraction that was here before! I remember seeing it in my 1994 trip for the first and last time! One funny thing that was nice to notice on Twister is that I had read that Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt couldn't bear to see each other after they finished shooting the movie, but they both had to do the theme park pre-show. They only agreed if they could shoot on separate days and not even show up in the same screen!!! (:confused:)

We passed the Blues Brothers stage where it would still be some time before the next show. We decided to grab an early lunch while we waited so we entered Richter's Burger Co, another nice burger place, very similar to Burger Digs, even having some outside seating. These were on the waterfront of the US lagoon, a nice place, but without the awesome view of the previous day!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8525/8569700701_76f99fb512_c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/94120663@N04/8569700701/)

After lunch I grabbed a place for the Blues Brothers show really close to the stage while the others decided to stay in the back! What a great show! I like the movie, but simply LOVE the soundtrack! Last time our Studios day was so hurried that I didn't have a chance to see it!

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After this show we passed in front of the amphitheater of the Universal Monsters show: Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue. After seeing such a nice performance of the Blues Brothers, we decided to sit down for this. Huge mistake! :sad2: This show wasn't really funny and most songs were just playback with dancing. Not worth it! I don't understand how a show like this continues while such amazing former attractions like Ghostbusters, Kongfrontation, JAWS, Back to the Future and Hitchcock have been substituted!

Next we entered Disaster! Studios which was almost ready when we were there in 2007. It retains many elements of the Earthquake attraction that was in the same place and it simulates the experience of selection of extras and some special effects.

After Disaster we passed by what used to be JAWS (:sad:) and what is rumored to be the Diagon Alley part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is a huge building in the background where it is probably gonna be a Gringotts coaster/ride.

We then went into MIB headquarters for some alien shooting! I love these interactive attractions and it is always fun to compare scores with both your companions and the opposite team of undercover alien agents! :grouphug: As we were only 4 in a car of 6, both me and DMIL grabbed 2 guns each! We did this twice and in both times we beat up the other team!

We then did Simpsons the Ride. This was probably the attraction with the longest line that we got in this park (possibly tied with Despicable Me) and I've never been a big Simpsons fan. It is a nice ride, but not nearly as cool as the classic Back to the Future: The Ride had been in this same spot! At least the car and train are still there!

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We checked the time for T2:3D and the Horror Makeup Show and as there was some time before those, we did E.T. (fun, classic and beautifully themed ride!) and then went to Shrek and Despicable Me. Shrek is a cool and funny 4D movie and the brand new Despicable Me is a great simulator with a nice theme: you get transformed into one of those adorable Minions! When we entered the hall before the pre-show there was some sort of technical problem and we waited there for a while longer, but at least that gave us time to enjoy the great reproduction in that hall of several of Gru's unique furniture and artwork!

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We left just in time for the Makeup show so we skipped the gift shop and ran to the show which was just getting started (they closed the doors after we and another family managed to get in!). This is a cool and funny show showing some of the special effects and makeup tricks used in Universal's classic and modern monster flicks.

We left the show and entered T2:3D with no lines directly into the pre-show area! This is one of my favorite 3D movies in Orlando, and as far as I remember, the only one with live actors in sync with the movie! Its Terminator, what more should anyone ask for?

We grabbed a couple of cheesecakes at the Patisserie near the entrance, hopped on another ride of Rip Ride Rockit and then returned to the waterfront to grab a spot for the Cinematic Spectacular.

I'm a great Disney fan, I love all WDW night shows, but I'm a huge movies fan popcorn:: and Universal managed to create a spotless tribute to their 100 years of making movies! This is a show that brings tingles up my spine when I remember it! Mixing water screens similar to Fantasmic's and some with even better resolution and size, lasers and fireworks, this show brings back memories of classics such as Dracula, E.T., Back to the Future, Gladiator, Jurassic Park among many others!

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The others were questioning me before the show if it was really worth it to wait for it instead of going earlier to a bridal store that we planned on seeing later. After the show it was a consensus, we couldn't have missed a show like this one! Perfect ending to a great day! :thumbsup2

We left Universal and went directly to the Outlet Marketplace to take a look at Camille Studio for some wedding gowns. While DFi and DMIL went into that store I entered the Toys R Us Express with DBIL. They soon joined us because, even though Camille La Vie's website is filled with bridal gowns, they don't sell those at their Floridian stores!:confused3 We were even more thankful of not leaving earlier as we would have missed the Cinematic Spectacular for nothing!

We then continued to the Crossroads for some dinner at the Red Lobster before returning to the hotel as we had a lot of packing to do!

Next - Pop Century! A Bridal Gown! Gatorland!

Xclusive2WDW
04-23-2013, 02:34 PM
Sounds like you all had a good time! That's great:thumbsup2 I'm so excited to ride RRR. I too miss Back to the Future and Jaws, I was really hurt about B2TF. It made no sense to me to replace that ride, it always had lines and everyone loved it. :confused3 We weren't going to Universal in 94 so I don't remember Ghost Busters, but I love the Blues Brother's show. We always eat at Finnegan's and get a prime view of the show. Great chapter, look forward to reading more:goodvibes

redoschi
07-26-2013, 09:33 AM
Sorry for taking so long between updates! This wedding is sure draining all my free time! But I had made several notes just after the trip to help me remember the details of each day, so I'll make sure to bring all of them here to you!

January 25th - Celebration & Gatorland

Time to leave the Clarion Inn and finally enter WDW! We made an early check-out and headed off into the morning fog to Pop Century!

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We checked in to find that we did indeed got a 70's room as I requested in the online check-in, but it was not a lake facing room though! The room was very nice, pretty much as I remembered the All Stars rooms we stayed in the past (I thought the beds were a bit smaller this time, but last time we arrived in Orlando after a few days in a tiny room in NYC, so it is probably just a bit of perspective!)

After settling in and retrieving the packages I had received from Amazon we set out for the Animal Kingdom Lodge to use our first Quick Service Credits on our breakfast at the Mara!

AKL is a very beautiful resort. Last time we entered it for dinner at Jiko's but it is even more impressive during the day! Too bad we didn't see the animals at the savannah as it was still very early!

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Our breakfast at the Mara was pretty good and we even got some Zebra Domes (one of the reasons for going to AKL in the first place!)

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Status of the DDP:
4 QS and 1 SC used - 84 QS and 43 SC remaining

After breakfast we went to Celebration, a town based on Walt Disney's plans. DFi and DMIL went into a bridal shop (Casa di Bella) where we had made an appointment and I went for a stroll around town with DBIL.

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It is a very beautiful little town and we walked a bit along a stream and then to the lake waterfront filled with shops and cafes. Then DFi called us saying that they had found it, they had gotten her wedding gown! But that it would need to be fitted, of course, and for that we would have to go to Winter Park!!!

I drove the car over to the shop, they put the dress in the trunk and off we went across Orlando to Winter Park!

Again me and DBIL waited a little bit while she had her dress fitting (for which we would have to return on our last car day!) and of we went. By then it was about 1-2pm so we decided to grab lunch at a nearby McDonald's before continuing to Gatorland!

We arrived in Gatorland at about 3pm when there is a special 50% off promotion as you'll only enjoy it for a couple hours. Great!

This is a hidden gem in Orlando's theme park scene and is worth a trip by anyone in the Orlando area which could spare a half day! The park is beautiful, with natural floridian swamp settings while being in safe pathways to see all these magnificent beasts!

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There are a couple shows: Gator Wrestling which we seems a bit cruel to the gator and the Gator Jumparoo where they try to make Gators jump out of the water to get chickens (worked just once in our show, probably because of the cold weather!)

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We managed to see the whole park in those 2 hours, but it was rushed! We could all have taken some extra time to just relax and stop longer at some of the exhibits. I also wish we had been there in time for other cool activities like the Screamin Gator Zipline or the Adventure Hour, where you get to feed the gators without fences or glass between you and them!

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One of their strangest gators are the white alligators (not albino! they have blue eyes!), something that I'd never even heard of (before starting to read about Gatorland, because it is listed in their website).

After leaving the park we went on our first (of many) Downtown Disney visit! We went straight into DisneyQuest, enjoyed several games like CyberSpaceMountain, Magic Carpets and Astroblasters, and of course, our favorite: Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold! pirate:

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After this we crossed the whole Downtown Disney to go to T-Rex as we had an ADR! We tried to be seated a bit earlier, but on a Friday night that was a no-go!

We went to Team Mickey to grab our Photopass+ card and lanyard! This was a great buy and we got several great pictures throughout the week both with photographers and in rides! :woohoo:

We then browsed the LEGO store (loved the new Disney inspired LEGO sculptures and that they kept my favorite of the old ones: the cute Sea Serpent!) and came back a bit before our time and finally got directed to a table in the ocean part of the room.

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T-Rex is loud, but a lot of fun and the food was incredible, specially our dessert (Ice Age Indulgence I believe)!
We did have one problem though: I asked for the check and our waiter got it for us, handed my pre-paid debit card (with currency fluctuations and extra Brazilian taxes if we pay on foreign currency on international credit cards we decided to do most of our charges to US Dollars pre-paid cards) and he brought back my receipt for me to sign, only what came with it wasn't my card!!! :scared1: It was a plain white card for a store membership or something like that!!! :scared1: We looked for the waiter and he was nowhere to be seen! We called another waiter and said we had received the wrong card, suddenly he reappeared and took my card from an apron pocket and handed it back to me! :furious:

We left the restaurant but were worried he might have copied some info of the card or something. We returned and asked for the manager which said he was very sorry for that and that he would talk to the waiter about it. I might have been an honest mistake, but you never know! The manager also asked us to check our card statement over the next few days to see if no unexpected charges showed up and to come back if there was any problem (thankfully no problem showed up on my statement!)

After this we returned to Pop as we had lots of Amazon packages to open! ;)

wiigirl
07-26-2013, 09:40 AM
Awesome pics! :)