The Trip That Almost Wasn't and No A Three Year Old did Not Make my T-Shirt!!
Hello Future Readers!! Welcome to the craziest trip report with many twists and turns. My Mom and I are currently on our Universal/ Disney Trip. the first part of the title is comes from making so many changes to our trip in between actually leaving that I was not quite sure we would make it. You can read more about it here at my PTR. The socond part of the title came from the fiasco that ensued while making our T-shirts. I had made some awesome designs as well as getting some made from here on the Dis, I had brought some transfer paper, printed them on, and was ready to go. The problem came when it was time to iron them on. I ironed the first one on and the words were all completely backwards. I later learned that I should have printed them in mirror image or changed it on an program like photoshop. By time I found this out i didn't have the money nor time to get three more packs of transfer paper so I sucked up the feeling of wanting the shirts to be perfect and we now have shirts that look like a three year old had fun making. It's okay though, we will be too busy having fun to worry about the quality of our shirts. :)
The cast consists of me! :wave2: I am Shardai and the uber planner of this trip. Whenever things do not go according to plan, I get super upset and irritated but the way this trip is going, I may as well plan to chill out now and go with the flow.
Pic of me at the airport.
The one who just goes with the flow. My Mom and I have a love/hate vacation relationship. She goes along with whatever I do and makes major sacrifices to make sure my trip planning OCD is satisfied. On the other hand she is the source of a lot of my frustration and suffers from a condition I would like to call selective amnesia and a severe case of pointless questions. I could tell her something we are doing and five minutes later will seriously ask me; "So, what are we doing?" :rolleyes2 Nevertheless, I am going to choose to focus on the positive on this trip. Here is a picture of her at the airport.
Up next: Day 1: Travel and we have been seriously driving for three hours, I think we are lost!
Day 1: Part 1, Part 2
Day 2: Part 1, Part 2 (Universal Studios)
Our plane was scheduled to leave Philadelphia at 7:25 am so we had to leave our house at 5 am. The night before, I had to finish packing and make sure I did not forget anything. I also had to finish my homework for my Psychology class before we left so I never went to sleep. At 3 am I got ready to leave and made breakfast for me and my Mom. Afterwards, around 4 am, I woke my Mom up. At 4:40 am I got a call from my sister telling me that she was outside so we packed everything up and headed off to the airport.
I thought that because we had such an early flight, the airport would be virtually empty but was I ever wrong. The airport was very crowded and it seemed that everyone was flying out of PHL this morning.
This was the line we found ourselves waiting in to get to security. The blue light is where the official line starts. I told my Mom that this was good practice for Disney. She said “Yeah, except we never wait in lines this long at Disney. I couldn’t argue with her there. After getting through security, we went to our gate and I took some pictures while waiting. 20 minutes before we boarded I remembered that I needed to get some water to take my medicine so off I ran to get some. When I came back it was almost time to board so I went over to take some pics of the plane.
I have to mention that I get really bad panic attacks before flying and have a serious phobia when it comes to planes. I honestly think flying is like playing Russian roulette and that there is a 50% chance of crashing. Just seeing the plane through the window was enough to set my panic attacks off. This trip, my doctor prescribed me some anti-anxiety pills so I could get through the flight without getting a panic attack. We also had medical pre-boarding for my Mom so when we pre-boarded, I told the flight attendant about my panic attacks and he nicely allowed us to keep the seat in between us empty. The flight worked out well though. I was really scared during take-off but the pills coupled with sleep exhaustion made it so I slept almost the whole flight.
We had one layover in Chicago but no plane changes and then it was off to Orlando.
Some Pics from the Plane
We finally made it to Orlando around 12:37 pm. I felt like I was back home as soon as we touched down. I did not realize how much I missed it. I was extra excited to see the fake monorail dubbed the fonorail by me and my Mom just shook her head at me.
After getting our luggage, we took the elevator to the first floor and called payless car rental’s shuttle service to pick us up. At the rental place, they had a hard time finding us but it all worked out in the end. They upgraded our car and we got a nice Nissan Sentra and we were off to find Steak N’ Shakes. That is where all the trouble began.
To be continued in next post….
Day 1, Part 2
I had the great idea of going to the Steak N’ Shakes that I went to all the time when I was in the College Program but I did not remember the exact directions. I thought it was on International drive but wasn’t completely sure. We literally drove around Orlando for a hour looking for any recognizable landmarks. We passed the convention center about 4 times since we were driving in circles and even found our hotel before we found the restaurant. I was ready to give up and upset at this point because I couldn’t remember anything and in my head it was so clear. I have to say that my Mom was actually really calm and patient the whole time. She suggested we stop at a gas station and ask. It turned out that Steak N’ Shakes was on International Drive but on the other side of Orlando. We had turned right instead of keeping straight. I thanked the attendant and this time we kept straight. I started seeing the old landmarks and we were there in twenty minutes. By time we got there we were so hungry that we completely forgot about taking pics but will make up for it later. Before we went, my Mom claimed that she hated the place because of a bad experience when we went in 2010. I thought she was being ridiculous because she did choose to get the spaghetti and chili and Steak N’ Shakes is most known for their burgers. Plus, the 2010 trip was so stressful that I am surprised any of us tasted anything properly. Nevertheless, I begged her to give it a second chance because it was my favorite hangout when I lived in Florida and it was really cheap eats. This time, my Mom got a burger and the verdict was that she loved it and wanted to go back before we left. Score!! We left Steak N’ Shakes and headed to Wal-Mart where we stocked up for the two weeks. Finally, three hours after leaving the car rental place we checked into our hotel for three nights, Best Western Orlando Gateway. This hotel left a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning and sad to say that it just went downhill from there.
We had booked a package with Universal but chose to stay at an off property site. Upon checking in, I gave the woman my check in information and she asked me for a credit card for the 50 dollar deposit. I asked what she was talking about; all I had known about was the 3.50 a day service charge. She explained that the 50 dollars was in case we incurred any charges and would be given back at checkout. I usually stay at Best Westerns and have never heard of them asking for money to hold in case of damages, I mean they have your credit card information anyway so it is basically pointless. Also, I know that many upscale resorts do this but I mean come on, this is a Best Western. I paid the hold fee and at that point I just wanted to get to the room and lay down. I still had not gone to sleep yet and was functioning in zombie mode. We moved the car around closer to our room and I took out both of our luggage but my Mom starts to take out all the food. I tell Mom to take the luggage first and she continues taking all the food out. We get to the door and I am walking up to the room and she stops and asks me can I get her luggage for her and I tell her no. She essentially wants me to put my luggage down and help her with hers. I tell her if she would have left the food like I told her to, she would be able to carry her luggage, she says the food would’ve spoiled for the five minutes they would’ve been in the car. I realized this was a pointless circular argument and walked away. I know it seems stupid, I mean who cares if she wanted to take the food up instead of the luggage, but there is a complete method to my madness. I wanted to check the room for bedbugs first and did not want to have to carry everything back to the car if we did have to be moved. After I checked the beds, I went down and helped like a completely good daughter.
Before we moved everything in, I snapped pics of the room. I again was not happy with the quality of the room. It seemed outdated , the bathroom floor was not clean, and the bathroom seemed really small and cramped.
After unpacking for the next three days, I tried to finish some homework but I could not keep my eyes open. I moved onto the bed and became dead to the world until 12 am. We were supposed to go to City Walk and eat dinner at Bubba Gump’s but I was too tired and we were not really hungry so those plans were slashed.
Up Next: Universal Studios and Disney Blasphemy!!!!
Day 2, Part 1
Today started at 6:00 am for me and 6:30 am for my Mom. We ate a breakfast of Pop tarts and cherries in the room and hopped in the car for Universal Studios. Today we wore our Despicable Me shirts and all day I got comments on how cute my shirt was even though the words were backwards. We arrived at Universal in less than ten minutes and that was the only good part of our stay at Best Western. We also gained early entrance to Universal as part of our package. We were one of the first cars to arrive and were able to gain a prime parking spot. We loved the moving sidewalks especially at the end of the day when our feet became so tired.
At Universal Studios, I went over to guest services to get our tickets. We had admission tickets, cinematic spectacular dining plan tickets, and meal deal tickets. When we finally went into the park our first ride was…..Despicable Me!! It was adorable and I loved it so much. This early, the ride was basically a walk on so we decided to do this ride twice.
(This door was so cute, it had a little minion entrance in it.)
Next we headed to Shrek 4D. While this was a nice ride, it was really long and just ok. I was a little mad at the blatant stealing of Disney concepts. There was a fake Tinkerbelle at the beginning and at the end the Tinkerbelle was thrown into a part of the auditorium like a certain Disney character in Mickey’s Philharmagic. When we got off Shrek 4D, my Mom had to go to the bathroom and who should I spot but the all too familiar neon color flag and a group of people who were speaking Portuguese. I grabbed my Mom and we hightailed it out of there to beat them to the next ride.
After dodging a serious bullet, we headed to Twister. This ride was surprisingly fun and scary. I literally screamed and hid my face into my Mom’s arm on one part. Great theming and it really feels as though you are thrown in the middle of a tornado.
Next up was Revenge of the Mummy. That ride was not what we expected at all but it was a good thing. There were so many twists and turns and it was so dark and fast. I almost came out of my seat a couple of times but it was soooo much fun. My Mom and I were laughing and screaming the whole time. As we were walking out of the gift shop, we saw these men on stilts and they were nice enough to pose with my Mom.
All of our rides so far were walk on or less than 10 minutes, going in the early morning really seemed like the way to go. We next headed to the other side of Universal towards MIB. While walking we were stopped by a man who asked us where we were from and how long we were staying. I thought he was going to give us a perk or something but in reality he was offering timeshare presentations in exchange for 75 dollars. I said no, my Mom was already starting to sit down. He then offered 100 dollars and a free breakfast and it was all over. My Mom signed up for the next day and I just wanted to go ride MIB. MIB was fun and I did not expect to spin as much but that made the ride even better. I really love the elevator effect they do; it makes it feel as though you really entered the MIB movie. My final score was 58,340. I thought it was pretty good since it was my first time ever playing and compared to my Mom’s score it was amazing. She managed to score a paltry 8,050. After defeating the alien’s, we headed to the Simpsons ride. I thought this was one of the best themed areas in the Studios but the ride was just not all that fun for me. I felt as though it was too jerky but it was my Mom’s favorite ride so it depends on personal preference I guess.
We escaped Sideshow Bob and had worked up quite an appetite in the process, so it was time to eat. Originally we were supposed to eat at Mel’s Diner but after Steak N’ Shake’s yesterday, decided against burgers. We instead chose International Food Festival. My Mom chose the Rotisserie chicken, corn, and coleslaw. For her dessert, she chose jello with whipped cream. I chose the beef with peppers, fried rice, and steamed vegetables. For my dessert, I chose fresh fruit. I also got a refillable mug of sprite.
We both were surprised how tasty our meals were. The vegetables were all freshly made and the beef was a really good quality meat. We would recommend this place and eat here again. We grabbed a tuna salad for later and headed to Mel’s Drive-In for another salad for later and it came with onion rings and a chocolate cake so we ate those there.
Again, the onion rings were very fresh. The breading was crunchy and the onions were nice and soft. The cake tasted like a three musketeers bar with a moist layer of chocolate cake underneath. While sitting outside, there was a small Dora parade going on that was nice for the little kids. We left shortly after eating for a rest.
Continued in next post…..
Hey Girlie!! I have been slacking so much on the dis I didnt even check the dates to see you went on vacation!!!! You look great!! I cant wait to hear more..I am going to sub RIGHT NOW!!
Day 2, Part 2
I want to apologize for being away soooooo long. Truth be told I got to a place where I did not really want to finish this report and I also needed time to recover from some of the events that happened... Now that I am planning another trip that is coming up soon, I figured I should finish this report up.
When I last left off we were leaving the park for a rest. My Mom and I went back to the hotel where we discovered that our air conditioner wasn't working. We called down to the front desk and they did respond promptly. The repairman, however just looked at it, hit it a couple of times, and told us to call back if it still did not get any cooler. Now my old apartment had a similar air cooling system and had just broken before I moved. I knew for a fact that the only way to fix it was to take it apart and look inside. Needless to say that, I knew it would not get any cooler but as the next day was our last night there, decided to just let it go. We slept for a little while and headed back for more rides and the universal cinematic spectacular. This was a surprise that I gave my Mom that included dinner and preferred viewing. It is like a mix of the fantasmic dinner package and the wishes dessert party.
The original plan was to ride all our favorite rides again. First stop was Despicable Me, but the line was over 40 minutes long so we decided to skip it. We didn't feel too bad because we had already ridden it twice that morning and we got to take some great photos by Gru's car.
We headed back to Twister because it was so much fun and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. As we were walking to Revenge of The Mummy, we spotted the blues brothers in thier car, so I snapped a couple of pics. At this point, my Mom was becoming tired and did not feel up to Revenge of the Mummy again nor with dealing with the lockers so she sat at the bus stop and waited for me to finish.
After my return from the dead we went on Disaster. It was okay from a cheesy standpoint but totally different from when I was a little girl. I really prefer it when it was earthquake, it felt more realistic to me. This version I found just really disappointing. After our movie audition ended, we thought we would try our hand at being agents again but sadly the aliens were causing some technical difficulties, so we walked to the restaurant and waited till our reservation time. We ate at Lombardi's Seafood Grille. It was prepaid for and came with the cinematic spectacular package. Dinner was included with an appetizer and entree. During the show there would be desserts and drinks. The restaurant was beautiful and we were seated quickly. Our server was fairly nice but it was his manager who really wowed us but more on that later.
Mom and I both ordered lemonades for our drinks. Our server also came out with fresh bread and butter. We really did not touch these as we wanted to save room for the main course. For appetizers I ordered buffalo wings and my Mom ordered spinach and artichoke dip. The buffalo wings were really good and had a nice kick to them. My Mom did not really enjoy her dip as she is used to it being made with a stringier cheese and this one had more of a cream cheese taste to it. Unfortunately shortly after our appetizers arrived, my camera died so I have nothing else of this night. For entrees, Mom ordered the Fisherman's basket which came with a selection of battered seafood and fries. I chose the Lobster Mac and cheese because it looked interesting. Mom's food was perfectly cooked, fresh, and delicious. My entree, on the other hand , left a lot to be desired. The noodles were really dry and the whole thing had an overwhelmingly fishy taste to it. Now I knew it was a lobster mac and cheese but there was no lobster taste, just fish. I couldn't eat more than a couple of bites so my Mom generously shared with me.
At this time the manager walked over and asked how our meal was. mom raved about her dishes and I raved about the buffalo wings. I was not going to say anything about the lackluster lobster mac and cheese, but both my Mom and the manager encouraged me to do so. I shared my concerns and he ensured me that he would relay it to the kitchen. If that would have been all, then I would have been fine with that but the manager went out of his way the rest of the night to stop and check up on us. So even though, the food was not a complete hit, because of the service we received, we left deciding that this was a definite restaurant we needed to come back to.
After dinner, we headed to Hollywood rip, ride, rock it. I had been daring my Mom all day that she would be too scared to ride it. Well we got to the gate.....and......wait for it...., I looked at her and said I don't really want to do this. She was so mad that I chickened out and I did not hear the end of it for the whole trip. We waited a little longer for our time to go back and watch the show. They had some really good and fresh desserts. The preferred viewing was not very crowded as there were only about six families out there. They also had chairs set up along the balcony so no one we all could sit and watch the show. As much as I love Disney, this show was very relaxing and different from the crowded Wishes dessert party. The manager we had met previously also came back out and talked to us some more. He wanted to see what our take on the desserts were and see if we were enjoying ourselves. We assured him that everything was great.
After the show we returned to the hotel and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
Today was scheduled to be an Islands of Adventures day but my Mom wanted to go to a timeshare presentation so plans were changed. We were served a complimentary breakfast and then allowed to look around. This presentation was only supposed to be for an hour but we did not get out of there until lunchtime. By this time I was just tired and did not feel up to going to IOA. Mom felt the same way so we decided to skip ahead to our traditional meal at Joe's Crab Shack and then go back to the hotel. The place was completely empty when we arrived so we got lots of attention from our server and were kept laughing the whole meal. We decided to split the Boston Lobster pot. It came with 2 whole lobster, shrimp, clams, sausages, potatoes, and corn. The pot was big enough to share and a good choice.
Breakfast from presentation
In this pic you can kinda see our server.
I thought it was cool that our table was one big map.
Also that the salt and pepper shakers are made from Corona bottles.
We left feeling rejuvenated and decided to head over to IOA. Our first ride was the Cat in the Hat ride. This area was really crowded and was the only place where we dealt with any rude guest interaction. This ride loudly states that you cannot use flash photography on the ride and we of course get seated with a man who decides to use flash the whole ride and thus blinds us. After the ride, I discreetly told the ride operator what occured and she allowed us to ride again so no harm done but we still hightailed it out of Seusville as soon as we were done.
Next we trekked to Jurassic park for the River Adventure ride. I had seen videos previous to this and was so scared to ride this based on what I had seen. My Mom on the other hand did not know what she was getting into. I may have casually mentioned after we were strapped in that there was a slight drop from that huge tower ahead. :rolleyes1 When the big drop came, we both chickened out, closed our eyes, and hung on to the rail for dear life. We loved River Adventure but felt bummed that we didn't keep our eyes open so we decided to ride again eyes open. It wasn't so bad and was much more fun when you know you are not staring death in the eye.
Next we headed to Toon Lagoon where getting soaked was on the agenda. Dudley's ripsaw falls was first and because we used the single riders line, it was a walk on. Next we headed to Bluto's Bilge rat barges. When we got on, it was a walk on but there was a huge rush of people that came after us so by time we finished our ride , the line had turned into a 30 minute wait. We concluded our day by taking funny pics around Toon lagoon and stopping at steak and shakes again before heading back to our hotel. Next day would be DISNEY!!!!!!!
Oreo Ice Cream sandwich from Steak and Shakes.
Frisco Melt and Fries.
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