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Old 07-14-2012, 09:34 PM   #31
anierodzik
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Just a smidge o' Disney: DisneyQuest

When we were planning this trip we wanted to make sure we got to do everything, even if it rained, so we built in as extra day. Welld, here was our extra day, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. We had some left over tickets for waterparks and more at Disney, so we headed over to DisneyQuest. this was a mistake. It was incredibly crowded with school groups on their end of the year trips. Crazy, loud kids (which we have no problem dealing with) and rude, pushy chaperones, ( which we do NOT like dealing with ).

All I can say is, we wish we had gone back to Aquatica for a second day....

Up next: Discovery Cove!!!!

Last edited by anierodzik; 07-14-2012 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Misspelling, darn autocorrect
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:10 AM   #32
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Can't wait for your Discovery Cove update!!!!! Loving the TR so far
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:04 AM   #33
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Thanks for your report. We are arriving mid-morning to Hard Rock Hotel and going to Universal that morning, too. I was wondering about what time you arrived at Universal Studios and what the line looked like for Rip Ride Rockit, then.

Thanks again for your report. I am really enjoying it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:25 AM   #34
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OMGoodness thank you for writing this TR!!! This year we are taking a "mega" trip which will include BG/SW/IOA/US/Aquatica AND Disney. We thought that we would just have a bang up trip before my DS went to college next August. We are staying at PBH and Hilton Grand Vacations for the same reasons, FOTL access! I am really enjoying all of the ends and outs of the non-Disney portion of the trip. We have done US/IOA a couple of times and we did a quick half day at SW last year (it was supposed to be a whole day but our jetblue flight was delayed for 8 hours and we arrived at 11 pm last year ) We also have Platinum passes from BG Williamsburg and will have "rock star" parking.

We will be driving to BG Tampa and would love to know how long it took to drive from you Orlando hotel to Tampa. What time did you leave? Would you pay for all day dining at BG or SW? Did you end up spending more money buying meals separately?

Can't wait to hear more.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:30 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixeegrl View Post
Can't wait for your Discovery Cove update!!!!! Loving the TR so far
On its way, later today...

[QUOTE=mrsp37;45498613]Thanks for your report. We are arriving mid-morning to Hard Rock Hotel and going to Universal that morning, too. I was wondering about what time you arrived at Universal Studios and what the line looked like for Rip Ride Rockit, then.


We got there at about 9:30- the park opened at 9:00. I did not see the actual time on the Rip Ride Rockit, but it seemed like the guys were gone for about 1/2 hour- which included 2 rides and a breakdown for them...
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:40 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepdisney View Post
OMGoodness thank you for writing this TR!!! This year we are taking a "mega" trip which will include BG/SW/IOA/US/Aquatica AND Disney. We thought that we would just have a bang up trip before my DS went to college next August. We are staying at PBH and Hilton Grand Vacations for the same reasons, FOTL access! I am really enjoying all of the ends and outs of the non-Disney portion of the trip. We have done US/IOA a couple of times and we did a quick half day at SW last year (it was supposed to be a whole day but our jetblue flight was delayed for 8 hours and we arrived at 11 pm last year ) We also have Platinum passes from BG Williamsburg and will have "rock star" parking.

We will be driving to BG Tampa and would love to know how long it took to drive from you Orlando hotel to Tampa. What time did you leave? Would you pay for all day dining at BG or SW? Did you end up spending more money buying meals separately?

Can't wait to hear more.
You are going to LOVE your trip. Our trip from Tampa to Orlando was a little over an hour (about 1 hour 15 minutes). We left from our hotel at the Residence Inn, Seaworld. The park opened at 10:00, so we probably left about 8:30.
I would pay for all day dining if you are planning to stay all day and eat at least 2 meals there. The water option (go grab bottles of water) made this a great deal. I'm sure we spent less on the day we did not have the plan, but there is also a different attitude, you know. (A bottle of water for everyone on All Day Dining vs. buy one bottle and fill it up four more times at a water fountain, or dessert? why not! vs. no, we don't ever buy deserts.)

When are you planning your great big trip?
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:51 AM   #37
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Can't wait to hear more! My son is turning 3, so I don't know if these parks would be right for us because he couldn't ride a lot of the rides, but the animal feeding and interaction looks so amazing, it just might be worth it! Maybe this would be a good "with grandparents" trip. My parents aren't big roller coaster people, so they could play with DS while DH and I rode.

Thanks for all the info about the Quick Queue passes and hotels. I didn't know Seaworld had perks at preferred hotels! We would definitely get QQ passes that way we wouldn't be separated from family all day waiting in lines.

Can't wait to hear about Discovery Cove! Keep writing!
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:18 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anierodzik View Post
You are going to LOVE your trip. Our trip from Tampa to Orlando was a little over an hour (about 1 hour 15 minutes). We left from our hotel at the Residence Inn, Seaworld. The park opened at 10:00, so we probably left about 8:30.
I would pay for all day dining if you are planning to stay all day and eat at least 2 meals there. The water option (go grab bottles of water) made this a great deal. I'm sure we spent less on the day we did not have the plan, but there is also a different attitude, you know. (A bottle of water for everyone on All Day Dining vs. buy one bottle and fill it up four more times at a water fountain, or dessert? why not! vs. no, we don't ever buy deserts.)

When are you planning your great big trip?

I am so happy to know that you had such a great time. I think we are going to love out trip too!! We love a good roller coaster so we are all really excited about BG Tampa! Our trip is coming very soon. (Just checked my ticker)

We have refillable cups from BG Williamsburg and we will make sure to refill them often. I agree, we will totally skip desert or split one piece of cake between the four of us if we are not on the plan.

What a great TR. There is not enough information on the boards about SW/DC/BG and more and more of us are expanding our Orlando experience. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:34 AM   #39
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Great trip report so far! We are headed down two weeks and plan to visit SeaWorld, Aquatica, BG and Disney (YES program). We are staying at Star Island for a week but I went ahead and book a night at Springhill Suites so that we can get Quick Queue for Seaworld.

We are Busch passholders and will probably be planning another trip right before Christmas. I'd like to take advantage of the passholder Discovery Cove deal! I can't wait to hear about your DC experience!!!
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:53 PM   #40
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I love your trip report! I am learning so much that will help us when we go. Thank you for taking the time to write all this and include all the photos.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:47 PM   #41
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I loved your trip report! We've never been to Discovery Cove but we really like Busch Gardens and Seaworld as well. It sure makes for a great RELAXING vacation when you add them with Universal.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:46 AM   #42
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Discovery Cove! Final Day of the Amazing Vacation

(Sorry it has been so long for this final installment- sometimes life gets in the way.

It's Discovery Cove Day! This was our last day of our vacation, and it was a great one. Following the theme of our trip, we didn't tell the kids where we were going, but we did tell them to start out in their swimsuits, so they assumed we were heading to Aquatica. When we pulled into Discovery Cove, they were SO excited. Our hotel had been running ad spots all week in the breakfast area, so the kids knew what it was. It had told them it was too expensive, so they weren't expecting it. (We used our Super Grover passes to get the Passholder special, so our day cost $179 a person, I think. Save for it. It's worth it!)

We headed for checkin, which was done very well and was very organized. They took our pictures for the ids, then we went to find out where our cabana was. (We had booked the Celebration Package with a Cabana). They suggested we eat our breakfast first, so we headed out for some yummy food.


After a week or so of the same breakfast at the hotel, we welcomed the variety.

We headed back to the front where the concierge led us to our cabana. On the way we stopped and picked up our wetsuits/ vests. Because we were going to a cabana, they took us to a station that was not open to the general public yet, and it was a smooth and quick process. We headed over to the cabana which was on the Grand Reef. There was a locker, refridge, table and chairs, and loungers. It was literally on the beach.

Here is my daughter standing on the edge of the cabana "patio".

Anyway, after we put on our gear, we headed out into the Grand Reef to snorkel. My husband has been, but none of the rest of us have. The water was SO clear, and it was amazing!


We used our new underwater camera. I say "we", but actually Bug took all the pictures. He is our family photographer, and he loved the experience- he's pretty good for a 9 year old. The water was clear and warm, and we all loved it here, swimming through the fish, over the shark tanks, and around the rays.


Next we headed over to walk through the aviary. If it is important to you to feed the birds, get there first. They were already well fed by the time we got there, so they weren't interested in eating, but they were absolutely amazing! The variety of the birds was great.

There was a male peacock who decided we did not need to pass. We all waited patiently while he strutted his stuff, blocking the path.

It was getting close to our dolphin swim time, so we headed over to our "training" cabana where they gave us the rundown. T ran back to the cabana to leave our camera in the locker. You cannot take cameras in the dolphin pool.
Our family of 5 was put with a family of 4, and we headed out to the dolphin area. It was an incredible experience. Our dolphin's name was Dixie, and she was the dominant female in the pool, so she had to leave from time to time to make sure everything was okay in her world. We kissed Dixie,

and we all went for a ride


Then they took our family over to the side, and from across the pool here comes Dixie, carrying a buoy to celebrate our vacation. I arranged the surprise as part of the Celebration package, and it was so worth it! The buoy now hangs on the wall over a large print of us standing with Dixie.


Because I had booked the premium cabana package, in addition to the cabana and special delivery of the buoy (and cabana attendant who made sure we had everything we needed), we also got a Tshirt, a backpack (which I take with us to the water parks), a nice picture frame, and 25% off the most expensive picture package, which I did take save for and take advantage of. It included the poster I mentioned before, prints, a DVD of our interaction, keychains, and a photo CD. Would I buy this package again? Probably not. Am I glad I got it this time? Absolutely!
After our dolphin swim, we no longer had to watch the clock. That is an advantage of the early morning dolphin swim, I guess. Ours was later (11:00), I think to schedule for the buoy delivery. It was nice to no longer watch the clock. Our next stop was lunch, which was great! They had a steel drum band playing, which my musical children thoroughly enjoyed. The food was really good. I had jambalaya, but I'm afraid I don't remember what everyone else had. After lunch we headed to the lazy river. Make sure you pick up some swim noodles off the beach before you go. The river is deep and very very lazy (slow). We took our underwater camera,

but we did not take our snorkel gear. As our cabana attendant put it "no fish, just feet." Since we had already gone through the aviary, we did not exit to see the birds again (there were several places you could do that).

There were many places for photoops,

Bug really like the waterfalls!

Remember that there are photographers all around the park. They take a picture of your id (try to make sure it is the same person's each time, it makes it easier to get all of your pictures together at the end of the day.) One of our favorite pictures was taken at the waterfall on the lazy river.


After the lazy river we spent the rest of the day in the Grand Reef and in our cabana. On the way back to our little "home away from home" we stopped by the slushy machines. Actually, we stopped by those a lot- the kids really like them! The reef was a bit cloudier, but it was still great. We relaxed and enjoyed being together and being at Discovery Cove. During this time I walked over to the photo place to pick up our package. I recommend doing this before the end of the day because there were long lines then. But you also need to make sure you have gotten all the photographer pictures that you want taken, so don't go too early either.

We stayed until they closed. The locker rooms/ changing facilities were nice, clean, and well maintained. I think the only crowds we encountered all day were when Lill-E and I went into the women's locker room at the end of the day. (And we were there on Memorial Day weekend.) It was an absolutely amazing end to our vacation, and we would definately do it again.

Thank you for following along on our trip of a lifetime. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have- it was just the best, and I want to pass on what we learned to other people.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #43
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What a wonderful day at DC!! Your whole vacation sounds fun and relaxing!! Thanks for letting us in on all the other things we can do in and around Orlando. Perfectly planned to go to the the front of the line!!
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:16 PM   #44
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Discovery Cove is brilliant. I love your underwater pics!
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:26 PM   #45
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Thanks for the awesome trip report!!!!
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