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Old 06-11-2007, 09:19 AM   #1
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RPR/HRH Report with LOTS of pics!

We just returned from our 6/2/07 – 6/9/07 trip to Universal and SeaWorld. We stayed at the RPR (1 night), HRH (4 nights), and the Hilton Garden Inn SeaWorld (2 nights).

Overall, we (Me, dh, and our three 8 year olds) had a wonderful vacation! Here are the details, good and not-so-good.

Saturday, June 2. Today was the kids’ birthday. We’d had their birthday party a week early. We arrived at MCO around 4:45 p.m., retrieved our luggage and headed for the taxi stand. My husband had said that he did not want to hire a car service (I had gotten a round trip quote from ****** for $82.00) and did not want to rent a car (I was okay with this, since I didn’t want to pay the $12.00 self-park fee to have the car sit in the parking lot for most of our trip). Besides, the taxi fare estimator (http://www.mearstransportation.com/T...eEstimator.asp ) said that it was only $29.75 from MCO to Universal Studios, so I figured we’d actually be saving a few bucks by taking a cab. WRONG! We were informed just before getting into the cab that the cost would be around $39, which is what it ended up being. For about the same amount of money, we could have gotten the free grocery stop by using a car service! Ugh! (Oh, and the cab smelled strongly of cigarette smoke!!)

Can’t remember what time we actually arrived at RPR, but check-in went very smoothly. The person behind the counter (Kathy) was very pleasant and was verifying that, according to our reservation all the kids were 8 years old. I told her yes, that they all turned 8 years old that day. She had the correct rate of $159 AP rate, but never asked to see our AP. (We had ordered it on-line and had not had it activated yet, but we had the receipt showing we had paid for it.) She handed us three “gold” coins and told us to visit the Mariner’s Club (the babysitting service) to turn them in for three gifts just for checking out the club. Pretty smart marketing!

Our room was #3554 which is on the 5th floor. Some people on the disboards have been commenting that the rooms seem “tired.” There were only two negative points to our room. First, it looked like the edges of the carpet had not been vacuumed in a while. Second, either the bed wasn’t made correctly by housekeeping or the bedding (specifically, the mattress pad) needed to be replaced. The bed was made as follows: mattress pad, covered by a tucked-in flat sheet. Then, you covered with a blanket which was sandwiched between two more flat sheets. It seemed very comfortable when we first got into bed, but after a few minutes everything was all messed up. I think the problem was that the elastic on the mattress pad was worn out and it kept slipping off the corners. I woke up with the top half of my body lying directly on the bare mattress. Yuck!!!

Now, dh and I are never concerned with our view. We spend very little time in the hotel room anyway. I thought we had booked a garden view because it was the only thing available, but I just double-checked our confirmation and it says “standard room.” Good thing, because this was the view if you looked straight down from the window:

But THIS was the view if you looked straight across:

Here are some pictures of the room:

The first thing a triplet mom does when she enters a hotel room is to re-make one of the beds sideways. Yes, the bed is movable. We later put the backs of two chairs on the left as a “bed rail.”

Note the hairdryer on the shelf in the closet. It took us a while to find it!

The lights on either side of the mirror are on a dimmer switch and make a great nightlight:

Next, we headed to Jake’s for dinner. Stay tuned for FOOD PICS…..
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:38 AM   #2
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Wow love all the great pictures! Can't wait for more.
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:51 PM   #3
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I'm excited to see more-thanks!
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:21 PM   #4
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Hi again!

As I started to say, we headed to Jake's at RPR for dinner. Dh and I got the burger and panini sandwich and then split them. The kids got the fish dinner, hot dog, and cheeseburger. All were great!

Jake's All American Bar Burger:

Classic Vegetable Panini (served with yucca fries):

Corn Flake Crusted Fish Nuggets (kids meal) served with veggies and ranch dressing:

Astro's Hot Diggity Dog (the bun fell apart):

Chuckie's Extra Cheesey Grilled Cheese Sandwich:

Cute little ketchups (sorry for the clutter - I can't figure out how to edit pics)

After our meal, we stopped at the Mariner's Club to redeem our "gold" coins. The kids got to pick from the treasure box (a deck of cards, mini frisbee, and a rope bracelet). We liked the way the club looked, but were only staying at RPR one night. We decided to check out Camp Lil'Rock when we got to the HRH. More on that later.

We headed on to IOA to get dh's Annual Pass activated. Here are a couple pics from along the way:

Pool shower (he's an 8 year old boy, of course he had to try it out!):

Quiet beachy area along the path:

Had no problem getting dh's AP activated. I mentioned to the cashier that I thought there was some sort of perk for having purchased it with our Master Card, and she gave me a coupon book (even though I hadn't seen that promotion offered any longer!). Most of the coupons were for 10% off meals, which was no better than our AP/AAA discounts, but there were also two coupons for free kids meals with the purchase of each adult meal at Pastamore and Margaritaville.

We went into the park (IOA) about 15 minutes before closing, rode just a couple rides, and headed back to the hotel via City Walk. We stopped at the NBA store to buy Cavs t-shirts. Forgot to ask for AP/AAA discount both at Jake's and NBA City. Darn!

When we got back to the room, we found that Kathy (the person who checked us in) had sent this up for the kids (how nice!):

Tomorrow, we switch to HRH and go to Richard Petty.

Here's a pic taken HRH, just to keep you interested... I bet at least half of you have never even seen this place... Do you know where in HRH it is located?

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Old 06-11-2007, 09:11 PM   #5
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great trip report. Can't wait for more!
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:53 PM   #6
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What a great trip report so far! Really looking forward to seeing and reading more. Love the attention to detail. Your children are adorable! Now, that pic at hard rock I have seen but I cant place. Is it in a bathroom somewhere? That was very nice of Kathy to send up a B-Day surprise for the kids. Its things like this that keep us coming back again anad again. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
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Old 06-12-2007, 12:54 AM   #7
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is it in a bathroom. i remember seeing it somewhere, when i was lost on property. your kids are so cute. great trip report so far. can't wait to hear more. KIM
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Old 06-12-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by burly View Post
is it in a bathroom. your kids are so cute.
ding-ding-ding-ding! Yes, it's the Ladies Room in the lobby of HRH, just outside The Palm restaurant.

Thanks to you both for the comments on the kids. They were looking a little scraggly (sp) after getting soaked on Red Fish/Blue Fish. LOL!

More later today...

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Old 06-12-2007, 09:31 AM   #9
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Awesome report Betty!!

Will wait patiently for more!!! LOVE, LOVE all the pics and the kiddos are absolutely adorable!!
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Old 06-12-2007, 09:42 AM   #10
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Very nice Trip Report. I can't wait to see some pics of the HRH.
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:18 AM   #11
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I am loving this report! The pictures are great! The one of the beach looks so peaceful. How were those fish nuggets? They look great. Your children are beautiful- I also have an eight year old son. Can't wait to read more.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:10 AM   #12
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Fabulous report! Your kids are seriously adorable

I can't wait to see more.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:31 PM   #13
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My daughter really liked the fish nuggets. There were none left, so I didn't get a chance to try them myself.

To continue...

We got up around 8:30/9:00 and called for someone to come for our luggage so that we could have it transferred over to HRH. After that was taken care of, we headed over to IOA. Around 3:00 p.m., we decided to hit some water rides and head back to the hotel since it was so close to check-in time. Well, here's where things go not-so-great...

First of all, I don't think the person behind the counter even checked to see if our room was ready. She verified that our room rate was $144. NO I told her, it was supposed to be $129 for an "obstructed view." She called over a manager who said that we had been quoted the weekday rate instead of the weekend rate, but that he would honor it. (Wouldn't Sunday be a weekday rate anyway?) I thought nothing more of it, until the day after we got back from vacation and I started going through the receipts - THEY CHARGED US $144 FOR EACH NIGHT!!! I will let you know if I am able to get the charge straightened out. Unfortunately, the e-mail confirmation I received when I first booked showed the $144 rate. As soon as I received that e-mail, I called to confirm our $129 rate and was told that yes, the $129 is correct. I should have insisted on a corrected confirmation, but I didn't. The person checking us in said that she would call us on our cell phone when the room was ready.

We headed to the lobby restroom to change out of our wet clothes (thank goodness we had a change of clothes in the backpack).

Here's another pic of the ladies lobby restroom (it was empty!):

We then headed out to the lobby and helped ourself to some complimentary lemonade:

We were hungry, so we headed over to CityWalk to have dinner at the NASCAR Cafe.

I had the potato soup and a salad. I asked for sesame and ranch dressing, since I couldn't decide. At this point, I can't remember what everyone else ordered, but it must not have been very exciting because I didn't even take pictures. A photographer came around asking to take our picture, but we declined.

Short Track Salad (the marinated onions on top were really good!):

We stopped at the NASCAR store and the kids got pressed pennies. By this time, it was almost 6 p.m. and we had not received a call from the hotel, so we headed over there anyway.

Got this shot before we left the NASCAR cafe:

When we arrived back at HRH, the person behind the counter asked dh if he had received a phone call and seemed surprised that we would be trying to check in without having received a call. Very odd. After all, it was two hours after check-in time. Anyway, we were assigned room 5058 and headed up.

Remember that great rate of $129 for the obstructed view? Well, here's what it looked like:

Now, before you get all teary-eye thinking this ruined our vacation - it did NOT. We knew what we were risking when we accepted the obstructed view and this is more-or-less what we expected. Well, maybe not a lightening rod outside our window... LOL! We hardly even noticed when the sheers were closed. More on the roof later, though....

Here's more pics of the room

No coffee cups, just lids! Got them the next day, though.

Notice what appears to be a towel rack on the right. By the end of our stay, we figured out that it was probably a magnifying mirror that was missing (there were screw threads at the end).

When the housekeeper came the next day, she added this "place-mat" type cloth under our hairbrushes. It neatened up the counter. I thought that was a nice touch...

In addition to the large vanity outside of the bathroom, there's a small sink inside, too. Very handy.

If you are looking for the hairdryer, it is hanging on the inside of the bathroom door...

I know everyone has been looking forward to a picture of the ice machines, so here it is (LOL):

You might have to go hunting for ice. Our machines on the 5th floor were very often empty. I was able to get some ice from another floor where their machines had a sign that said something like "If you need a large amount of ice, please call star services."

I also took pics of the laundry room, which you can see in this thread:


At this point, I just want to comment on the noise level. Unfortunately, most of what I've read proved to be true. It's really not noise between the room that bothered me, it was the constant noise in the hallways. And not just slamming doors. We could very clearly hear conversations that were just people speaking in a normal tone, not even yelling. Thankfully, I can sleep through just about anything and so can my kids.

The next day we head for the Richard Petty driving experience.

Check back tomorrow to see pics of meals from The Beach Club (HRH poolside eating) and The Kitchen!
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Old 06-12-2007, 05:05 PM   #14
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awwww - sorry you had trouble with check in (if you read my report we did as well).

Hoping that you get that rate changed - did you get a survey to complete yet? If not, let me know, I have a contact that you can at least complain to over at HRH. You may get a form letterish email back, but I have a phone number for you to try as well. I love how you have pictures of everything!!!!
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:28 PM   #15
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Thanks for this great report. I have written down where the laundry rooms are thanks to you!!! Thanks for the heads up on the noise level...I will be packing our air purifier to help drown out the noise there.
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