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Old 09-08-2013, 08:09 PM   #106
coastgirl
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Sunday

Sat and Sun were difficult because on Friday our AC got hit by lightning. It took us til Sat aft to figure out that was why it was so HOT, and then we fought the heat until late on Sunday. We went out Sun morning, but when the repair guy DIDN'T come back first thing Sunday morning, we figured out the dog needed us to come rescue her. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So, we left home about 8:15 Sun am, hoping to make rope drop at US. I had been keeping an eye on lines on the new rides (Despicable Me and Transformers) with a phone app, and the lines were ALWAYS long. So we were going to try to make rope drop and see if it helped.

We almost made rope drop, and were in the park by about 9:15. We beat it toward Despicable Me, but they were changing it from 45 min wait to 60 min wait as we got there. Ugh. I think Despicable Me fills up faster because it's so close to the front of the park.

So we kept going, and I was really surprised that Transformers was only 20 minutes. Yesss! We hopped into line there. The queue was pretty cool. Ds enjoyed it.



We had a bit of a groan when they announced that the ride was down, but it only stopped us for 5-10 minutes, and then things started moving again.

I enjoyed it, I must say. I haven't watched the movies, but the queue got me "into" the story, and it was fun. Besides Forbidden Journey, it was our first simulator, and we enjoyed it. It did feel like we were in the movie, which is what you're going for.

After that, I wanted to do "Disaster", which we'd not done. The wait was about 20 minutes, but only because we'd just missed the start of the previous show. When they let us in, it still wasn't a huge crowd, but enough to be fun. We were being "recruited" as extras for the disaster movie production, and then a few were selected to appear in the "feature". When the host asked for "three people to be villians who can do a scary laugh", dd put her father's hand up, and he was picked. Dh is a secret ham, and has a surprising deep "radio voice" when he chooses to use it. I suspect the host finds one or two volunteers he can "work with" for laughs in each group, and when he heard dh's "scary laugh", it was on. "Oooh, I said scary, not creepy. You're making me uncomfortable there, Ron." So every chance he got thereafter, he made a joke about "Scary Ron" or "Creepy Ron". (Dh has a new nickname :ROFL I managed to sneak my phone out to take a photo and tape the taping of dh's and the other villains' "scene", but my phone was upside down and I can't figure out how to rotate it!




(Ok, this isn't working, I'll try to upload it to youtube later...it's just a quick clip of the bad guys including "Evil Ron".)

Then we got our guy back, and we loaded into the train cars. That part was fun, but mostly because we were hamming it up, hoping we'd get our 15 seconds of fame. (We didn't, the cameras were focussed on the empty rows behind us, but we had fun anyway.) The "feature" that they stitched together was funny, and we enjoyed the whole thing.

After that we wandered around and found our way to Men In Black, with no wait. So we did that ride. It was fun; dh won of course.



Dd is scared of mounted animals. Apparently ds is repelled by The Simpsons, and we couldn't walk through Springfield even with the bribe of a giant donut . So no "Lard Lad" for us. We did get to peek at the construction for the new Harry Potter London area. Can't wait to go back!




While we were moving around the park, I spent a lot of time leaving messages for the property mgr, trying to find out what was going on with the AC. The repair guy was supposed to be there at 8, but revised it to 10...when we were waiting for Disaster, he was "driving to the house now". At 12 we had no update so we left the park. Other than Dispicable Me, the park was relaxed and we had a good time doing new stuff for the morning.

Our next plan was that we'd finally grab a meal at Friendly's before heading to the (presumably cooling) house. (Friendly's was "on the shirt" for 3 of the 4 of us.) We got there around noon, and I could now check that off my list.




One of the staff members got so excited about our shirts she asked if she could take pictures.


We got home at around 1:45, expecting that the AC would be fixed--and he hadn't even arrived. It was a mess, and we ended up sticking around the rest of the day to make sure it got fixed. But I'm not going to whine about that. Instead we used the opportunity to enjoy a few more pool beverages.


We got to try Transformers, dh got a new nickname, and we had ice cream. It was a productive day.
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JoAnne in NS
with dh, ds 14, and dd 11

1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa
PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:28 AM   #107
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Great update! I'm so sorry about the AC issues. Ugh. I'm glad it didn't interfere terribly with your fun.

And you got so much accomplished. Looks like a fantastic day at the studios!
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:30 AM   #108
coastgirl
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Resurrected.

Just coming back to Disboards with a new trip in the works and thought I might as well do what I can to finish this. I don’t have notes for much more but my pictures are well organized, so I can hit the highlights at least…

Monday

Monday we went back to our old favourite, the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana. We always love this, and wouldn’t miss it.







Stitch is pleased with ds when he sees he made the shirt.





It also gives us a chance to ride the monorail.



Dd and I went to a mall and shopped, and had fun at the sushi place with the floating plates…



Tuesday

We made a trip to Aquatica and had a great time. No pics because—well, waterparks and cameras. But I did get one from the parking lot to prove we were there!



Lunch at 5 Guys—it was on the shirt.



Then an evening trip to US because I am determined we will ride Minion Madness. We got into Minion Madness after a very long, very hot wait! It was fun, but it was the longest I can recall waiting for anything. The queue was cute, but you can see how hot the kids are…



__________________
JoAnne in NS
with dh, ds 14, and dd 11

1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa
PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:41 AM   #109
coastgirl
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Finally, Dining with Shamu!

Wednesday Aug 21

This is the last installment I wrote at the time, and never got around to posting! Funny to read the details now when they’ve faded. Anyway, might as well finish up what I can. So the following was written about 15 months ago, while we were still there…

We are feeling the end approaching, and starting to panic. We are doing fairly well on our to-do lists, but still have some things to tick off. Today managed a few.

Sausage gravy. Tried to go to a Bob Evans we kept seeing, only to pull into the parking lot and find it's under reno. So, back to our friendly neighbourhood Waffle House, biscuits with sausage gravy for me, pork chops for dh and waffles for the kids. Not as good as Bob Evans, but what do I know? I haven't had sausage gravy for probably 5 years or more.
An hour at home with the dog, and a bit of pool time, then off again. Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ. On the shirt--dh's at least. We picked the one near Universal, and got there around 1. I ordered pulled pork, and everyone else had regular BBQ sandwiches. I won. Sorry, dh.






THe pulled pork was great, the sliced bbq pork just tasted old. And dd had to lower her head to find a seat, as they also have dead things on the wall. Oy. I shared my pulled pork with the less fortunate. The "mild" sauce actually has that South Carolina vinegar tang I like. And really, really good lemonade. Who knew?

Back in the car, to Seaworld. We got there around 2 and got sent to the outer boondocks to park. It was HOT. This is only the second day we've been in a park in the heat of the day (the other day was Legoland). We were moving pretty slowly, and feeling hard done by by the time we got in. We walked by the sting ray tank, and things instantly got better. So cool. Dh spend $10 for 3 trays of sardines so we could feed them. (Last time they had something that looked like tofu for the rays, which was less gross.) We were so lame, every time a ray came toward us, we squealed and dropped the fish, which really confused the poor rays. But they were good sports, and it was really fun. They'd flap their wings on the way by and "high fin" us.




Next we headed toward the back and found ourselves at Turtle Trek, with a 10 min wait. The wait was painless, as we got to wait inside in AC, with a viewing tank of manatees and turtles. I love manatees. So gentle and graceful looking, despite their hugeness. Ds kept calling them "Chewys of the sea" and giggling. Chewy is our very fat, very lazy guinea pig.



The turtles were great too. There was one big guy with a HUGE crater out of his shell and back, from a run-in with a boat propeller. Like, it could hold about 40% of a basketball. Amazing that he survived, and pretty awe-inspiring. You can see what I mean here…sad to see, but so amazing, what a survivor.





We went into to the 3D theatre, and it was well done, with the 360 degree projection (like an imax dome). It was a little hokey, but cool. I remember noticing at one point that the man standing off to my left had a huge jellyfish on his head. We were happy to get back to the real critters, though, and spent another lovely time watching the same turtles and manatees from above this time, in the outdoor viewing area.



Then we decided we had time to see the dolphin show, and we found seats left of centre in the front row, in the splash zone. They were great seats. Even though we couldn't see everything, we had a great view of the animals underwater, and they got so close. We got a little wet, but nothing too bad. The birds in that show are wonderful too, and they had us all oohing and ahhing as they flew overhead. There was a single huge bird of prey (I think--definitely not a parrot!) that really surprised all of us. We only saw it once, I'd like to know more about it.

Leaving there we had to hoof it over to Shamu Stadium for Dine with Shamu. I was told to check in at 4:15 and we did, after really rushing across the whole park to get there. (Note, the signage for DwS is spotty to non-existant, and we wasted time and energy getting there.) My original ressie would've assured us a great seat, and I was trying not to mourn that, thinking we'd have bad seats with our last minute switch. We were the last table in the back, on the inside row (there are only two rows). But Ann-Marie, our server, pointed out the two empty tables behind us, which weren't covered. As rain was threatening, they hadn't put us there, but she said we could move once the interaction started.

We barely got to the table with food before the trainer started talking. The pool is bigger than I expected, but laid out so that you can see most of it from every seat. I stood up pretty quickly and moved to the rail at the empty table. It was SO COOL. The orcas were as close as 10 feet from the glass at times. The trainers did a great job making sure everyone got a good view, and that you knew where to look when they were about to do something neat. We learned a lot about their life at Seaworld and their interactions with the training staff.

(Looking back at my pics, I want to be clear—I had no fancy zoom on my camera. They were that close. I barely had time to get the camera out and turned on, let alone focus or zoom!)











I'd say the "show" took about 20 minutes. When it was over, we were feeling a little pressured to go, but our server made it clear we should take our time. She said they had started a little early because of the threatening rain, and we shouldn't feel rushed.

The food was good, but don't expect a Disney-style buffet. There were two kinds of meat, 3 or 4 salads, rice and potatoes, and the kids' table with fish sticks, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and mac and cheese. I particularly liked the bbq'd smoky chicken.



My son had FIVE hot dogs. The dessert table had a couple of types of cake and a key lime pie, as well as some choc chip cookies. Everything was good, and everyone found something they enjoyed. While we ate we struck up a conversation with the family at the next table, who, it turned out, were from Yorkshire UK, with Irish connections. Dh and I have travelled to Yorkshire and Ireland, and we found lots to talk about. It really made the evening more fun for us.

We got our family photo and finally waddled off around 5:30. (3 substantial meals out today, and we were feeling sluggish.) It was starting to rain, and we made our way back to the "other side", ending up back at Antartica. I thought there was a back way you could get into the penguin exhibit without going through the ride, but we couldn't find it, so we gave up. By then the rain was steady, and we pulled out our ponchos and kept going. Dd really wanted to do Atlantis again, but the rides were closed due to the weather. We hung around a while, trying to wait it out, but had no luck. We did go into the "Jewels of the Sea Aquarium" outside Atlantis, and we enjoyed fish-ogling. The jellyfish there are especially neat to watch. On the way out of the park, I dragged the family to the dolphin nursery. There were two adult females there, and a two-month-old calf. They were just swimming laps together, but it was a lovely end to the day to stand and watch them, and talk to the staff member. The Seaworld staffers are in our experience uniformly warm and knowledgeable.

It was a lovely day. Seaworld is a special place, and we love viewing the animals.
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JoAnne in NS
with dh, ds 14, and dd 11

1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa
PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 11-09-2014, 12:50 AM   #110
coastgirl
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Fianle and home

So, Dine with Shamu was Wednesday and we had Th and Fr left. I had the foresight to put the photos into folders by day, so I have a bit of a record of what we did…

Another visit at the Wizarding World on Thursday…

The Hogshead and the rooftops of Hogsmeade...







Defense against the dark arts classroom...



Dumbledore in his office...



The Hogwart's Express



Friday, errands (including souvie shopping at WWoHP), and our last pool party.







And Twistee Treat…




Saturday, a last walk with the dog, around the Emerald Island neighbourhood, and a stop at Downtown Disney for the photo opps…





I remember on the way to the airport belting out the soundtrack of our vacation…”Harry Potter in 90 Seconds”…”There once was a boy named Harry, destined to be a star…”

I also recall how long the wait was at security at MCO. My ds, who had done really well with so many situations he found stressful, had a melt down in the security line. A “normal” looking 12 yo, melting down, was rough. It was me, two kids, the dog, and all the carryon we could manage, as dh was returning the rental car and hadn’t caught up with us. I had to take the dog out of her kennel for the screening. Then they pulled me aside for “extra screening”. There was a lovely family behind us who helped me out. Bless them. I hate telling strangers my kid has an ASD, but I whispered it to the dad behind me and to the TSA screener, but it was still pretty awful. Plus my 9 yo dd was ahead of me, and no one was keeping an eye on her. She was distressed by the time I got to her.

The other travel weirdness was coming back into Canada with the dog. I had been careful all along to follow the process, made sure I had all the right papers, held her up for inspection every time…and no one cared. No one looked at her, asked for her paperwork, nothing. The final step was customs in Toronto, and I guess we were feeling complacent. We had filled out our customs declaration indicating our purchases and our duty-free, stood in the long line, had our passports inspected and got asked about what we bought—then walked through the sliding doors. Smiled or said hello or something to the last two immigration people at the little security desk (the one that is basically there to keep people from going in the out door) and as we passed, the guy said, “hang on, is that a dog in there??” (the pet carrier) Uh, yeah. Well, apparently, that was suddenly a Big Deal. :-D “You didn’t declare it.” She’s a Canadian dog…wanna see her rabies cert? (Which apparently is the closest a dog gets to a passport. ;-) ) Well, as it turns out, one of the questions on the customs form is something like “are you bringing home any meat, fur, ivory or other animal products?” and I had said no. There is no category for pet other than “animal product”. He made a big deal about how we could be fined thousands of dollars for lying on our declaration, but the other guard there knew it was an honest mistake. (I had the rabies cert at the ready!!) So we got sent to the “special room” for extra screening. Which is the first time in my life I’ve gotten that kind of extra scrutiny. I actually felt really bad that we were the only white family (or even individuals) in the that room—I suppose the others were more likely to be travelling from somewhere “exotic” but I felt guilty. Not to get too political, but the people of colour were way over-represented in the "extra scrutiny" line, and that's just not fair. As for us, we got through after a few questions that determined we meant well… Travel through airports is a brutal way to end a vacation.

Anyway, we had a good trip and we made it home intact. And I came back to Disboards because we’re going again, and I found the rest of this trippy. Funny to see the pics we took of Diagon Alley being built, and in a few months we’ll get to see it finished!
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JoAnne in NS
with dh, ds 14, and dd 11

1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa
PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011

Last edited by coastgirl; 11-09-2014 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:17 AM   #111
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Enjoyed your TR! we stayed off of Irlo Bronson and also loved Chuy's! One of my fave places ever! Bahama Breeze is also yummy if you ever make it back there..
The kids and I loved Turtle Trek in Sea World! That and petting the Sting Rays were the two favorites there!
Hubs and I were a little let down by Legoland but our kids loved it! We aren't die hard Lego fans though. I don't know that we will go back again.
Your villa and pool looked lovely! Glad you had a nice time!
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