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Old 04-30-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
Teknik_DC2
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Doing Disney with an Infant. Our April Photo Trip Report.

Hi everyone. I just got back Saturday from our fabulous vacation and i'm excited to share with you all how it went. My trip reports turn out to be very in depth, Long, and Very photo filled (I took over 2,600 photos this trip). For an Idea of what you can expect from this trip report take a look in my signature for past trip reports.

Our trip took place from April 19th-28th 2012. We stayed off site and in addition to the 4 Disney Parks we also did the 2 Universal Parks as well. This was our first "Family" vacation since our Son was born last year and also the first full Disney World vacation that I've been on since 93 and my wife since 97. We were so excited that we finally made it happen.

Anyways here is an introduction to our family and who you will see on this trip report. My wife and I are from Utah and we have been married now for 4 years and 2 months. We have always loved to travel and try to do a large vacation each year.



I'm Jeff and i'm 28 years old.



And this is my wife Kiera who is 24 years old.



Coming on his first vacation ever and first time to Disney is our 7 month old Son Daniel.



And lastly joining us for the Universal portion of the trip our my parents. They live in Charleston, South Carolina so they drove down for a weekend to see us and there grandson. They are my Mom Jenny, Step-dad Kieth, and my two Younger brothers Tanner (16), and Kory (12). They actually came in a day earlier then us and were crazy enough to do 3 disney parks in 1 day. But thats a story I won't be telling today.



With that said Let let this trip report officially begin with the first report posted in the next day or so.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read and follow this recap.

Table of Contents:


Thursday April 19th
Day 1: Travel to Florida (Post #5-6)


Friday April 20th
Day 2: Islands of Adventure Pt 1 (Posts #10-11)

Day 2: Islands of Adventure Pt 2 (Posts #14-17)


Saturday April 21st
Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Pt 1 (Posts #18-21)

Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Pt 2 (Posts #27-29)


Sunday April 22nd
Day 4: Universal Orlando Resort Pt 1 (Posts #32-35)

Day 4: Universal Orlando Resort Pt 2 (Posts #40-43)


Monday April 23rd
Day 5: Epcot Pt 1 (Posts #48-51)

Day 5: Epcot Pt 2 (Posts #52-55)

Day 5: Epcot Pt 3 (Posts #59-62)


Tuesday April 24th
Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 1 (Posts #68-71)

Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 2 (Posts #74-76)

Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 3 (Posts #81-84)


Wednesday April 25th
Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 1 (Posts #85-87)

Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 2 (Posts #92-94)

Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 3 (Posts #98-100)

Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 4 (Posts #102-105)


Thursday April 26th
Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 1 (Posts #106-109)

Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 2 (Posts #112-115)

Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 3 (Posts #119-122)

Day 8: Downtown Disney (Posts #124-125)


Friday April 27th
Day 9: Epcot Pt 1 (Posts #127-130)

Day 9: Epcot Pt 2 (Posts #131-134)


Saturday April 28th
Day 10: Travel Home (Posts #137-138)



Bonus Content
Past Vacation Trip Report Links (Posts #140-141)




.
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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure

Last edited by Teknik_DC2; 12-18-2012 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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I am here... to follow along! Your DS is adorable!
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:06 PM   #3
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I'm in - it seems a lifetime ago since my two were that size
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:27 PM   #4
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:38 PM   #5
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Day 1: Travel to Florida

Our trip began the morning of April 19th, 2012. It had been nearly a year since our previous vacation and the first we've had since the birth of our Son Daniel. It was a rocky road to get to this point with date and even vacation changes at least 4 times but the day finally came when the vacation we had been hoping would happen for nearly a year would finally begin.

Typically I like to travel early in the morning. The sooner we can leave for vacation the better in my opinion as that gives you extra time at your actual destination. However traveling with an Infant that wouldn't be happening this year. The choice came between an 8am flight or a 2:20pm flight. We decided to choose the later since we would have that extra time in the morning to get the baby ready and we could take our time getting to the airport.

By 11am we were leaving our house. We would be meeting Kieras aunt at 11:30 at her parents house (where we would be leaving our car while we were gone) to take us to the airport. The car was packed and everything locked up and we were soon on our way to the start of our vacation.

We made one last stop by the mailbox in hopes that the extra camera battery would be there. I had ordered it 5 days earlier off ebay. The reason I bought the one I did was because it said it would arrive before we left on vacation. That day had come and gone and still not battery. We arrived at the mailbox as our delivery person was sorting the mail. Would there be a miracle and would the battery be there? Unfortunatly no it wasn't. Looks like I will be using the back up camera if the battery dies on our normal camera.

We soon meet up with Kieras aunt and after swapping all the luggage into her vehicle we were on our way to the Salt Lake Airport where our vacation would officially begin. Its amazing how much extra luggage we had to haul into the airport having a child. In addition to a bag for each of us we also had an extra bag for Danny in addition to a carry on duffle bag with his stuff, Kieras breast pump/diaper bag, his stroller, and finally his car seat. Luckly for us Kieras aunt was kind enough to help us haul all of our crap to the airport until they were checked in.

Traveling with an Infant requires additional check in at the airport counter as we would have to verify his age as he would just be sitting on our laps. I read many places online that if a child is clearly younger then 2 years old then they wouldn't ask for additional ID to verify the age. That wasn't the case in SLC though as they still asked for a birth certificate. They handled our boarding passes and checked in our bags and we were soon on our way to proceed thru security and on to our flight.

Going thru security with and Infant turned out to be easier then we thought. I read online as well that some airports require you to go thru a special line when traveling with a breast pump but that wasn't the case here. It just went thru the x-ray machine like everything else. Make sure you fold up any strollers and car seats beforehand as they have to go thru the x-ray machine as well. Kiera then held Danny with her as she stepped thru the metal detector. We did get flagged for a moment though as the diaper bag went thru the machine. We still had a half filled bottle of breast milk that Danny had been eating. They told us they had to do a taist test on it to verify if it was really milk. We told them that was fine and felt bad for whatever TSA agent had to do the taist test lol. Needless to say it passed.

Once thru security we finally felt like we could relax and vacation was really starting. We quickly found our gate and then decided we should find something to eat since we really wouldn't have a layover (we would stop in Denver but wouldn't change planes). We decided on a Sandwich place called the Boar's Head. We laughed as its name and logo and simularitys to the Hogs Head from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which we would be visiting the next day. The sandwiches were good but kind of expensive but what can you expect from Airport food.





Not long after finishing our sandwiches they announced that we would soon be boarding. We would be flying on Southwest Airlines. We usually do and we really enjoy flying with them. Plus we have there Rapid Rewards credit cards so my ticket didn't cost us anything. Although we were now traveling with and Infant and that would entitle us to use Family boarding between the A and B boarding groups we still tried to check in as soon as possible. And it worked as the previous day I got our tickets in the A group. Southwest allows you to gate check a car seat and stroller for free. However when you get to your gate have the attendant check it prior to boarding. We didn't know this so we held up the line for a moment as they tagged them.



We were soon on the plane and our trip would begin. Honestly the flight was the thing we were most worried about with traveling with an Infant. Nobody likes a crying child on a flight and we were hoping that wouldn't be our child. Kiera made sure that Danny was sucking on a binky during take off to help so his ears wouldn't hurt as the altitude changed. We would be traveling to Denver where were would have as short stop before continuing on to Orlando. Danny did great with no issues at all during take off or even the landing. He just chilled and played with some toys or his Mickey Mouse Plush. About an hour and 15 minutes later we were landing in Denver.












As I said although we stopped in Denver we wouldn't be switching planes as ours continued on to Orlando. I don't know what it is about Denver but last time we passed thru Denver we did the exact same thing. Its kind of nice though as after the plane emptys and they take a count of the remaining passengers then we are free to move around the cabin and change to whatever seats we would like before the new passengers boarded. We took advantage of this by moving the very front row of the plane. We chose these seats because they have significantly more leg room. It would also make it much easier to get out and change diapers if needed to.




After about 30 minutes the plane started loading again. And we started to find it very funny how many people avoid sitting by a baby like the plague. person after person after person would see the empty seat next to us, move to sit there, see the baby, and move further back in to the plane. The person who finally did sit next to us it was pretty much the only option left lol. On the flip side of that though 3 kids when seeing the baby jumped right in to the seat as they wanted to sit with the baby. Of course there parents would rather them sit with them though. It was pretty funny.




We were soon back in the air and on our way to Orlando. This leg of the flight would obviously be longer then the first leg and the flight took just over 3 hours. We passed the time playing with Danny, Reading our books or playig games on the Kindle Fire, or just trying to relax. Danny had his dinner and soon crashed out asleep for part of the trip. We really enjoyed having the front seats as it made if very easy to get access to the restroom. But it had its downfall too such as not having trays for your drinks and snacks. Oh well we made it work. Overall Danny did excellent on the plane never crying once.






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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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As the daylight slowly turned to Dark we knew we would soon be landing in our destination of Orlando. And sure enough we soon did. We were here. We made it. Let the awesomeness of this vacation begin. After a bathroom stop we made our way to the baggage claim. I love the Orlando airport. I don't know what it is but since a kid i've always liked it. Something about the trams and the hotel in the airport itself just seems so cool to me.





We soon arrived at the baggage claim and quickly realized that it would be very difficult to haul all of our bags on our own. So I bit and rented one of those carts to load all of our luggage on to. It cost $5 to rent it but it made life so much easier then trying to haul all of our luggage around the airport and to the rental car on our own. I joked that it was like I was hauling all of our luggage to Hogwarts.




Before leaving the airport we needed to make one last stop and that was to get our rental car. I don't remember what discount code I used but I got a very good deal on a Compact car thru Budget. Last year when we came getting the rental car was rediculous as it took 45 minutes. Today I walked right up the counter. The agent was very helpful and nice and unlike the agent last year didn't make me get there insurance when I told him my personal coverage covered it. Although if you do this make sure you bring your own proof of insurance. I didn't have mine and could have got in trouble had I been pulled over. We soon had our vehicle assigned and made our way to it. Our 10 day rental only cost us $245.

Our rental was a little Suzuki SX4 Hatchback. It actually turned out to be a decent little car. I was also really suprised to find it was the All Wheel Drive model that was pretty loaded. The car worked out great for us although it felt smaller then a compact car. We had to put the stroller in the rear seat as it wouldn't fit in the trunk area.



With the car loaded up we did a quick walk around to make sure we noted all dents, dings, and scratches as we didn't want to be held liable for something that was already wrong. We made note to the attendant of what we found and we were on our way. Remember when in Orlando especially when leaving the airport that there are toll roads so bring some quarters with you. Luckly for us the airport tolls would be the only ones we would encounter on this trip. However if you head out to Port/Cape Canaveral there will be many more that you come across.

We had to make on stop before getting to our hotel and that was a Walmart. We decided to wait and buy some items until we got to Orlando so we wouldn't have to travel with them. We went to the Walmart located on Turkey Road by the Universal Orlando resort. I ran in quickly while Kiera stayed in the car to feed the hungry baby. What were we picking up? Not much. Just a box of Diapers, Wipes, Popcorn, and some toiletry type items. After grabbing some Wendy's for Dinner we were on our way to check in to our Hotel.

Just after 11pm we arrived at the Hotel we would be spending the next 9 nights in. The Baymont Inn and Suites Celebration. We stayed at this hotel last year and really enjoyed it. Yeah its not perfect but its also not a dump. We also got it for only $35 a night booked thru hotwire.com so you can't go wrong with the price ether. In all the room only cost us like $360. You can tell the hotel was built in the 70's but the rooms and common areas are all recently remodeled and pretty nice. Our room was on the 3rd floor and turned out to be great. We love that for the low cost we got nice beds, a large flat screen tv, a seperate vanity area from the toilet/shower, plus a fridge/freezer and a microwave. The hotel also offers a free complementry breakfast each morning until 9am. Its not the greatest thing but it taisted better then last year and it saved the cost of an extra meal most days. Our only complaint about the hotel was that it doesn't have a hot tube. What we thought was a hot tub was just a kiddie pool. Still we enjoyed it especially for how close it was to all the Disney parks (Animal Kingdom 5 minutes, Hollywood Studios 10 minutes, Epcot 13 minutes, Magic Kingdom 18 Minutes). You can even see Everest from the top floor of the hotel.










As we got settled in to the room I called my mom to find out the plans for the next day. They arrived a day earlier and today the went to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom hitting only the major attractions. Needless to say 3 parks in 1 day made them very tired and exhausted. Islands of Adventure would be opening at 8am the next day but they knew there was no way they could get up for that. Not wanting to go without them we decided to wait and would head around 9:30ish instead and hope for the best crowd wise.

We quickly got ready for bed as we knew the morning would come very quickly. We also didn't know yet how Danny would do adjusting to being 2 hours ahead of Utah time. Only time would tell. We were very excited to be returning to one of our favorite places tomorrow. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the rest of Islands of Adventure.
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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:51 PM   #7
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Day 2: Islands of Adventure Part 2


After a filling lunch we made our way back across the bridge into Hogsmead and turned to make our way to Hogwarts castle. On our last visit to IOA the Forbidden Journey quickly became one of our favorite rides. The question is with the Spiderman upgrades could the Forbidden Journey still be the top attraction?





We entered what was posted to be a 35 minute wait que. This was the first time we had done the entire standby que since our original ride as each ride since then had been via the single rider line. I love how absolutly detailed the line is. However my biggest complaint from our last visit is still present. And that is how the line moves. You basically rush thru the dungions, get held up forever in the greenhouses, and then sprint thru the rest of the castle to the load plateform. I wish the long hold up would be in the parts of the castle that are interesting. You never got to hear all of Dumbledors speach or even the Kids dialog as you are constantly being pushed to the loading area. Unfortunatly I don't think theres anything that can be done to change this. I guess thats why you can take a castle tour afterwards.








My family are not Harry Potter fans at all but they still really liked the que. They were all pretty amazed by the projections of the Kids and Dumbledor as well as the moving portraits. I have to say too that while waiting for the Forbidden Journey that this is when we noticed the horible looks some people were giving us. I assume the looks were because they assumed we were taking a 7 month old on a big thrill ride. Seriously are people really this uneducuated? Do they really think we are just going to hold the kid on our lap? People really should become educated before passing judgement.







We waited in line for less then 20 minutes when we reached the Room of Requierment. Kiera and I were directed to the Child Swap room while the rest of my family boarded the ride. I couldn't believe how packed the Forbidden Journeys childswap room was. You could barely move. We did like how they had the movie playing though. As I watched out the door I immediatly started feeling bad for my family as the load plateform was stopped. Which means the entire ride was stopped. This happened 2 more times over the course of my familys ride. When they got off they told me that 2 of the stops were right when you entered the screen domes and so they never saw what happened. The domes are seriously the worst place you can stop of on this ride. I told them to ask if they could ride again because of all there stops but they decided they didn't want to. My brothers came back with Kiera and I on our ride though.

Our ride started out great until we hit the first dome and once again the ride stopped. We were about halfway thru when this happened. Again being in the worst place possible to stop. But we quickly got going again and the rest of the ride was great. I never noticed so much movment in the Dragon before. Also the Dementor scene seemed much darker and scarier with what seemed like more Dementors then before. Unfortunatly though the "Soul Sucking" Dementor wasn't working but nether was the effect. It also seemed like the projection on the domes were darker then usual as well. Overall dispite the minor breakdown it was one of the better rides i've had on it and its still one of the best rides in the world. However I can honestly say with the new Upgrades that Spiderman is better.




When we exited Hogwarts we found the sky to be very dark compared to when we entered the line. It looked like it could start raining at any moment. Still we weren't going to let a little rain ruin our fun. We saw Flight of the Hippogriph only had a 5 minute wait so we made our way over there to find it closed. This was kind of odd we thought. So next we walked down thru Hogsmead to go to Dragons Challenge which was not only closed as well but people were coming out of the enterance. At the time I figured it must be because it looks like its gonna start raining any minute. Upon looking it up later though Universal will close all outdoor rides whenever Lightning is present within 5 miles of the park. Which makes sinse.







With the thought of this rain/lightning storm coming quickly we decided maybe it would be best to do a long indoor attraction next. So we left the Wizarding World and made our way to thru the Lost Continant and to an attraction that Kiera and I had never done before. Posidens Fury. We found the stroller parking to be under a thick area of trees that should hopefully would protect the stroller well enough incase it rains. We also thru a blanket over it just in case.




We weren't the only ones who thought this would be a good ride to take cover from the rain in as the line got long very quickly and it was one of our longer waits of the day. We were finally in though and the show soon started. To our suprise it was actually a pretty cool show. It had some very cool effects and the Water Vortex was one of the coolest things i've seen. My only complaint about the show was that the videos need to be updated. They really show there age and are pretty bad. An updated video could take the attraction a long ways. Its not the best thing on the property but if the wait is short its something thats worth checking out. It also will always have a special place with our family now too as it was the first attraction that Danny actually got to do the whole thing with us.

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February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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As we exited Possidens Fury we found everything soaking wet and it was also still lightly raining. My family ran for cover while I went and got the stroller which to my suprise was still dry. The tree coverage protected it. The rain was light enough that it wasn't annoying or bothersome so we walked thru it to the last area in Islands of Adventure that we hadn't been to yet. Suess Landing.





Dispite the light rain it seemed like the only people out were wearing ponchos. They must make a killing on these things when the rains starts in the parks. Since the outdoor rides were still closed we made our way the only indoor ride in Suess Landing. The Cat in the Hat. And it only had a 10 minute wait posted. Unfotunatly we would end up not riding what I consider to be one of the best Dark Rides on this trip. As shortly after we entered the line for Cat in the Hat the ride broke down. And it broke down to a point where they cleared out the standby line as they didn't know when it would be working again. Well that sucks. We never made it back on this trip to ride it again.





By the time we left the Cat in the Hat line the rain had stopped and blue skys were showing. Not only was 1 fish 2 fish being tested but so was the High in the Sky trolley which ment if they were testing they were getting ready to reopen them. Which was also likely true for all of the Outdoor rides. With nothing left in Suess Landing that interested my family we made our way back to Wizarding World in hopes to get on Dragons Challenge before the park closed early for the day at 6pm.




As we walked back thru the Hogsmead Arch there was already a decent crowd gathered near the Dragons Challenge enterance. In the distance you could see the empty trains running which ment that it would be reopening soon. Not even 5 mintues had passed when finally they reopened the line and the attraction reopened. We followed the crowd in and made our way to what was at one time the greatest suspended coasters ever.




I say at one time because Dragons Challenge is now just a shadow of its former greatness that was Dueling Dragons. The first blow came to the ride was when its former amazing que was removed during the Harry Potter overlay. The second and worst blow came late last year when the Dragons would no longer "Duel" do to multipule people being hurt on them. Now all you have is 2 good suspended coasters but nothing great anymore.







Our first ride would be on Ice, wait I mean the Horntail as I think its the better side. My family went first and thought the ride was awesome (they would never know how much better it use to be). Kiera and I went next with my brothers. This was the first time i've ridden not being in the front row. I must say that if you can wait for the front row. Seriously its the only way to ride a suspended coaster as its so much more exciting. The only thing fun about not being in the front was that you never knew what was coming.

Daniel was getting Hungry so after our ride Kiera and most of my family left the ride so that she could find a place to feed Danny. My brother Kory and I though stayed behind as we were gonna go ride Fire, my bad I mean the Fireball. This time though we were gonna wait it out and ride the front row. Although the wait was much longer the ride this time was much better as nothing beats the front row on a suspended coaster. My brother couldn't belive we were going the same speeds as he thought the fireball was much faster then the horntail. The ride was great and we soon exited to meet my family.





Kiera had actually found a quite spot to feed on the trail between the entry and exit lines for Dragons Challenge. By the time she finished the park was just about to close. We headed back down into Hogsmead to find my family at the Owlry waiting for us. Now was as good of time as any to grab some more Butterbeers. This time we bought a 2nd refillable mug as we knew we would end up using it. I filled one up with frozen for Kiera but I had our new mug filled with Regular Butterbeer for myself. The regular is still very good but I have to say I still prefer the frozen over it.







The park had now officially closed by this point. But before we left we wanted to look around some of the shops. To our suprise though they weren't keeping them open longer like usual though because of Grad Nights. They were doing whats called a Hard Close to get people out of the parks quickly to prepare for the incoming Seniors. We briefly looked in the Owl Post and the different wands before having to leave. We also barely made it into Honeydukes and Zonkos and were able to look around quickly before having to leave as well. On our way out the the Hogwarts Express conductor was still out so we grabbed a quick photo and then started to make our way towards the exit of the park with a line of security people already forming a line to sweep the park and push people out.


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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:54 PM   #9
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As we passed thru Suess Landing this was the first time I noticed Sneetch Beach. The Star Bellied Sneetches was one of my favorite Dr. Suess books so I loved it. Its one of those small details of Islands of Adventure that I love so much. Plus the views of the rest of the park here are great just like they were from the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. There were even Sneetches sitting in the water.









I finally caught back up with my family in the Port of Entry where they were slowly looking in some of the shop windows as they passed by. The Port of Entry was packed with people leaving the park for the day but there were still room for some ducks and birds to be wondering so close to you that you could touch them. Really if you have the time take your time ether coming or going to explore the details of the Port of Entry. That really are great.








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February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:56 PM   #10
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We exited the park into what was a very busy Citywalk. We were gonna stop by the Universal store out here but it was closed off as surrounding it was the staging area for the kids going to Grad Nights. Well that sucks. We did stop by the billabong store on the way out though as my brothers really wanted to check out the stuff there. We also got a better look at the mini golf course.







We made our way back to the parking garage and to our vehicle. What was nice not having to wait for the elevators in the morning was made up for the long wait to get on one in the evening. After waiting twice we finally got on the 3rd elevator and made our way back to the top of the garage where our family was already in the truck waiting for us. I snapped some pictures of the parks from up here and then we were on our way back to the hotel area. It was on this drive that we heard the "Major Lightning Storm" warning for the next day. The news really made it sound like it was the worst storm Orlando will ever see.








before heading back to the Hotel we decided to grab dinner first as Daniel would likely be hungry not long afterwards. So we drove all around the hotel area looking for what options we had for dinner. What we decided on was probably a mistake. We went to the Golden Corral. Now these things aren't the greatest back home. So I don't know what we were thinking. It was pretty expensive (over $30 for just Kiera and I) and the food was worse then back home (although there were a couple things that were alright). I guess you should always be iffy of a restaurant that has a gift shop attatched to it. Yes thats right. To exit the Golden Corral you exited thru a large generic Florida gift shop. After looking around the gift shop we finally headed back to the Hotel.




And at the Hotel was where our night ends. I think Daniel was very happy to be here where he could finally get out and sit and play. We wouldn't be going out again for the night after Daniel feed, We got ready for bed, and I transfered all the photos I took that day to the laptop. Once again on the TV they kept talking about this huge major Lightning/rain strom coming in tomorrow. Knowing this I figured maybe it would be good to grab a stroller cover and some ponchos and umbrella just incase we needed them at the parks tomorrow. We soon went to bed so that we could get the rest we needed. I would be running to Target as soon as they open in the morning to grab what we need and we had another full day ahead of us tomorrow at Universal Studios Florida.



And thats all for Day 2 at Islands of Adventure. Thanks to those taking the time to look at or read my recap. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask. Thanks everyone.
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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:07 AM   #11
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Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Part 1


Today we would be going to Universal Studios Florida. The park would be opening today at 8am however instead of waiting outside the park waiting for it to open at 8 I would find myself waiting outside a different location. A local Target. The previous day all over the radio and tv they talked about the big storm that would be rolling thru Orlando today. A storm with a 90% chance of heavy rain. So I got up early, got ready, and left to Target to pick up a few things before heading to the park.



I got to the Target about 10 minutes prior to its 8am opening. Kinda funny that in addition to myself there were also many other tourists that were waiting for the store to open as well. When the doors opened I was suprised to find everything I was looking for right when you walk in where you not only see a large display of sunblock. But also of umbrellas and ponchos. I grabbed a few $1 ponchos and an Umbrella and then continued on to the baby section to see if I could find a stroller rain cover. Unfortunatly I couldn't find one so I just figured I would try to rig a poncho to work instead. I grabbed a some fruit for Kiera and before long I was on my way back to the hotel. I decided to skip breakfast at the hotel today though and instead grabbed breakfast for us from Chick Fila which was pretty good and much more filling then the hotels breakfast.



Back at the Hotel Kiera and Danny were almost ready to go. We were still done sooner then the rest of my family who we would be heading back to the Universal Parks with. After they grabbed breakfast we finally loaded into the vehicle and made our way back to Universal. We parked once again in the South parking structure but this time we were parked on level 4 inside. Again Kiera, Daniel and myself took the elevator while the rest of my family took the escolaters but unlike the previous day they were waiting for us at the bottom. We made our way once again thru Citywalk and but today we turned right towards Universal Studios instead of walking strait to Islands of Adventure like the majority of the crowds were.





We soon approched that trademark globe and took some photos before passing thru the magnificent archways and entered the studios. This day in the Studios was one of our sadder days of the trip as the studio park had changed since our last visit. Of course the big loss is that the Jaws attraction no longer exists. We had no idea that our ride with that great white would be our final ride on our previous trip. Also gone was the Jimmy Neutron ride which really wasn't much of a loss. Don't get me wrong i'm excited for the changes that are coming. Its just sad to see the park in the state its in with all this expansion going on.







Inside the park some characters were out for meet and greets. In addition to Woody Woodpecker there was also Curious George who we had to get a photo with. Curious George would be the first Character Daniel would ever meet so we got his (Disney) autograph book out and Daniel absolutly LOVED Curious George. He was laughing and giggling and George was so cute with him. Getting down on his level and just playing with him and taking his blanket. It was so cute.











One of the first things you notice when you walk in the park is the construction taking place on Universals newest attraction and the replacement for Jimmy Neutron. The Dispicable Me Minion Mayham ride. The only time we rode the old Jimmy Neutron was on our 2009 trip and it wasn't anything great. I remembered the old Hanna-Barabara ride being much, much better so I was happy to see it go. I also loved Dispicable Me so I'm really looking forward to the new ride. Unfortunatly we made it to the park right before the rapid finish to the showbuilding and fascade happend as a few days later (after we were done at Universal) the bricking on the house and minor touches were finished, as well as the murals all hung up. (3 weeks later now the building is out from behind walls, the shop is open, and rumors of soft openings starting any day are going around). I don't know when we will be back I really look forward to the Dispicable Me ride.







We made our way to a ride that my brothers obviously wanted to do first thing and also a ride that was closed for some "unscheduled matenance" that last time we came. The Hollwood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster. We rode this thing back in 2009 about a month after it opened and absolutly loved it so we were dissapointed when it closed suddenly for over a month during our 2010 trip. So we were excited to give this thing a try again. The wait time posted would pretty much set the tone for the day as well as we expected the park to be fairly busy on a Saturday. However it was quite the opposite as with the park being opened for over 2 hours by this point Rockit was still only posting a 5 minute wait.

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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:08 AM   #12
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We hoped in line for the coaster and the TM at the front of the line told us we would get a child swap card from the TM at the bottom of the stairs. We walked thru the whole lower level que with no wait whatsoever. However when we arrived at the stairs there was no TM to be seen. So we just walked up the stairs as we now had no clue what to do. There was finally a line waiting at the top of the stairs for the ride. By this point the line had already extended down teh stairs and into the lower que and we now saw a TM standing there. So Kiera and I walked back down to go see the TM about the child swap card. We were once again given rude stares by other guests thinking we were gonna attempt to take Daniel on the coaster. Instead the TM gave us a pass and directed us to the Elevator to reach the child swap area. I loved giving those who gave rude glairs the same rude glairs back from the child swap. My parents obviously stayed in line and rode the coaster first while we waited.







Now child swap was done differently on Rockit then other rides. As I said they gave us a pass for it allowed us to get in the child swap area. We also had to keep the pass in order to reboard after my family were done and its specifically said only those waiting and 1 other could use the pass to reride. So this turned out to be the only ride that my brothers couldn't reride with us. My family soon returned from there ride and Kiera and I made our way back to the coaster line where we were promptly put in line for the next train. Other then the Vertical lift that scares the crap out of me so much the ride was just as awesome as I remembered. I love choosing your own music and the coaster is such a blast. I know many people compain of it being pretty rough but it wasn't for us. This is a must ride at the park assuming you like coasters and the verticle lift hill doesn't scare you away.




I loved the coaster so much that I immediatly wanted to ride again. But other then my little brother Kory the rest of my family didn't want to as I guess they did have a rough car lol. They stayed in child swap while Kory and I ran down the exit and back in the enterance that was still showing a 5 minute wait. Once again we didn't reach a line until we got to the top of the stairs. While waiting a group of 5 people walked up in the single rider line that was previously empty. Single Rider was closed when we walked past so thats the reason we didn't use it. I asked those in it if it was now open and they said yes so Kory and I jumped in that line and within 2 minutes Kory was sent to a train and I was shortly behind him. As a bonus I scored the very front row of my train that soon came to a stop and we had to unload. I guess somebody that was on the train previously lost there lunch and so they had to do a quick clean up. I was waiting on the load plateform and my brother was now sitting in a line of trains waiting to come back into the station. We soon reloaded and I was on my way to a rockin good time. This time I tried not to hold on to the restraint and loved the airtime I was getting. This ride just got better trying to get the most airtime I could. After my ride we all left the coaster and had a good time looking at our videos from our previous rides.



The next ride that we went to isn't actually a ride but is a show. That show being Shrek 4d. Its a show we've done on each of our visits to both US Universal Studio parks and is in my opinion is one of the better 4d shows out there. Plus my parents obviously had never seen it. One thing I love about universal is that most of there stroller parking areas are themed as well. I loved the one for Shrek. Anyways we were able to get right in for the next show with a very little wait. During the preshow Daniel crashed in Kieras arms. Thats ok seeing as how we would need to sit in stationary seats with him anyways. My parents sat in the back of the theater while Kiera and I went to the stationary seats in the very front row. I don't know if it was just cause we were in the front but it seemed so much louder then it has before. The front row is also VERY close to the screen so your neck kind hurts by the end as well. Still it was a good show and nice to sit down and dispite being really bright and loud Daniel slept thru the whole thing.






We meet up with my family afterwards and started making our way to E.T. We timed it pretty good though as we caught Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out for there Meet and Greet so dispite Daniel still being asleep we still got a picture taken with them.



As we stopped for a restroom break I looked around the Universal Studios Lagoon where setup and work was still taking place on Universals upcoming night time show called the Cinamatic Spectical. Many online websites complained about how the barges and waterscreens look in the lagoon during the day and I can understand the complaints. However I personally don't think they look as bad as people claim. especially with the themeing they put on the barges. Too bad the show doesn't start until after our trip is over.................







As we walked past Mel's Drive In before making our way thru Central Park to E.T. we noticed that the Lorax was also out doing a meet and greet. Dispite Daniel still being asleep we decided what the heck we would take him to see the Lorax as well. We waited in line and what do you think happened next? Right as we walk up the Lorax Daniel wakes up from his nap. And the first thing he sees is the Lorax right in his face. Kiera and I were waiting for him to have a freak out or be super scared waking up to the Lorax. Instead he got a HUGE smile and started laughing and reaching for the Lorax. He absolutly loved him. This turned out to be one of the cutest character meets of the entire trip as we got some great pictures and Daniel loved him so much. Infact as we were leaving he grabbed the Lorax's fur and wouldn't let go of him.





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Click Dates below for Links to Past Trip Reports

February 2008: Carnival Pride Mexican Rivera Cruise - Hollywood - Santa Monica | December 2008: Disneyland - California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood - Knotts Berry Farm - Las Vegas | October 2009: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Glory Eastern Caribbean Cruise | October 2010: Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida - Carnival Legend Western Caribbean Cruise | April 2011: Epcot - Carnival Dream Western Caribbean Cruise - Charleston S.C. | April 2012: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Islands of Adventure - Universal Studios Florida | December 2012: Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Universal Studios Hollywood | May 2013: Myrtle Beach S.C. - Charleston S.C. | September 2013: Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure - Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean Cruise | June 2014: Magic Kingdom - Epcot - Hollywood Studios - Animal Kingdom - Universal Studios Florida - Islands of Adventure
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:12 PM   #13
JOCELYNM
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Thanks for posting!!

This is a great trip report! Thanks so much for sharing..I have to say I am a bit jealous...this report is coming from a man's point of view..I would love to see what my DH would write for a trip report!!! Your little boy is just adorable and he looks so happy in EVERY picture!!!!
Thanks again for sharing the story of your first trip to the World with your Son!!!
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:00 PM   #14
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Finally got all caught up! Loved your Universal report. We are big fans of the Universal parks, but don't see much love for them over here on the Dis, especially not in TRs. The minigolf area looks amazing! I'm just dying to get back there (we skipped it our last Disney trip) to see WWoHP and maybe try that minigolf. Very cool that you got a surprise viewing of the new nighttime show. They recently discussed it on a Dis podcast, and it sounds awesome.

Your Epcot day was so busy! I can't believe how much y'all were able to get done with a little one in tow. The character pictures are SO cute, especially the one with Duffy! Danny looks like he is just having the BEST time. Also I love the idea of getting your pic taken with a hat in each country. Sounds like a fun scavenger hunt! Hopefully you were able to get your UK one.

We LOVED the baby care centers on our WDW trip. They were really invaluable, and I can see them being wonderful for nursing moms. DS had just weaned about 3 weeks before our trip and I was so relieved because I was nervous about nursing in the parks, but after seeing what they have available, I definitely wouldn't be afraid to bring a baby that was still nursing on future trips. I'm glad they worked so well for Kiera for the rest of your trip! The only one we had trouble finding was Epcot's, but once we did, it was probably our favorite one.

Looking forward to more soon!
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