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Old 05-12-2009, 09:24 AM   #1
septimuswigley
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Thoughts from a recent visit

Returned to the UK last Thursday from a 19 day trip to WDW (including 3 days at Vero Beach). I'm not a trip report kinda guy but I thought I'd drop a few feelings that I wanted to share with you lovely people.

Back story - my wife and I (28 and 30 repsectively) went with my parents and two friends of theirs. They went out mainly to play golf (which my wife kindly let me partake in 3 times) while we did the parks. This may be the last time we go without kids of our own, too, which was an interesting thought! Wife and I had 3 days in Vero Beach before meeting with the rest for 2 days in a Boardwalk villa and 2 weeks in a villa in the Emerald Island resort (behind the old Splendid China)

Here we go...
  • Virgin Atlantic Online Check-In is a complete waste of time. We had economy seats booked near the rear of the plane but I'd been told if we checked in as close to 24 hours before the flight we could change our seats. We couldn't, and to top it off our seats had been moved to the very last row! After being forced to get to Manchester airport earlier than we hoped to try and move seats again, I ended up paying for an upgrade to Premium Economy. They were nice enough to charge two seats for the price of one, but I shouldn't have had to do it in the first place!
  • Disney's Vero Beach is a lovely resort. It's a lot smaller than I thought but I had OKW in my head. The beach was great and the mini-golf was fun. Not sure I'd want to spend more than 3 days there, though.

  • The refillable Disney mug is a great idea, and got used to within an inch of it's life.

  • Vero Beach itself is... odd. Kinda quaint, very quiet, got it covered within a day. Restaurants aren't too bad, though.
  • Being able to choose your car with Alamo is great, although we were forced to have the only one left when we first arrived. The electrics were dodgy, so we swapped it returning back to Orlando from Vero Beach, and chose a bright yellow bumblebee (Chevy Aveo). It was ace!

  • I'm not sure we're going back to Busch Gardens for a long while. It was four years since we last went, and nothing has changed or improved. Compared to AK the animals seem secondary to the park and some of them did not look happy - particularly the elephants. Plus the fact they stopped doing free beer - well, what's the point in going?!

  • AK should buy the rights to Rhino Rally and put it in AK - both times I've ridden it it's been absolutely hilarious. It totally depends on the driver, I know, but for sheer entertainment it beats the AK Safari. Oh, and I'm not saying replace the safari, before you start. AK should have both.

  • Disney are definitely doing something right. Busch Gardens was very quiet and Universal was absolutely dead. We did UO and IOA in one day and had still finished by 4pm. Mummy, Hulk, Spidey, Simpsons - all were walk ons. Most Disney rides averaged 20 mins. Still not a lot, I know, but the difference between Disney and other parks is noticeable.

  • Having now played all Disney golf courses except Oak Trail, I now think Palm > LBV > Magnolia > Osprey Ridge. I have a soft spot for LBV as our DVC ownership is OKW.

  • Why doesn't DISboards have a board for golfing? Orlando is the golf capital of the world and enough people go there to play!

  • T-Rex is bonkers, and I loved it. The meteorite shower was awesome!

  • Tren-D needs more stuff for males in. I mentioned this to the CM but she just said 'Team Mickey have guy stuff'. I know, but I don't want 'guy stuff'. I want quirky clothes that happen to be for men.

  • The Harvey seat-belt handbags are excellent. We bought one and I would've bought my wife another but for finding a different bag in Saks.

  • Wishes is better than Illuminations. It's a very close run thing, but this vacation made me realise that Wishes has that little extra something that I love. We saw it twice in three days and it's didn't lose it's magic.

  • Be happy! Due to a friendly CM we got great views of Illuminations in the boat dock at Morocco. She was stopping people trying to sneak in or jump over the wall, but because we'd sat for half an hour to share a coffee and a cuddle she decided to let us in. We didn't plan for it, and it was a really nice little touch. I think it was because we were happy and not trying to take advantage - and I think that helps.

  • There's not enough golf info for people coming to Orlando to play. There's too many adverts on websites and not enough actual info. I'm going to set up a blog to see if I can do anything about it.

  • Sometimes booking late can be good - we booked the villa at Emerald Island three weeks before we arrived. We got a six bedroom villa for half price, giving us a bedroom per person! Overkill, I know, but the owner got some money and we got plenty of space!

  • I'm still not sure whether the Sweetheart Dinner is worth the money. I took my wife to one at Jiko, and while the food was nice (and the Magicale sparkling wine is excellent) I'm not convinced it was worth $150, even if you do get souvenir glasses.

  • Victoria & Albert's, on the other hand, is as amazing as ever. This is the 3rd time in 3 visits we've been, and I count myself incredibly lucky that this is the case. The past 2 times we've been we have taken people who have never experienced it, which makes it just as fun. I cannot implore people to go enough!

I'm sure there's some other things I need to add, so I probably will do very soon. Hope this gets you thinking!

Ben
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Last edited by septimuswigley; 05-12-2009 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:28 AM   #2
NHTikiBeckie
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Thanks for the report!
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:03 AM   #3
lbklyn
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Liked your trip report! Easy to read and fun! Laughed at what's the point of going without the free beer! I know what you mean about seeing animals (ESPECIALLY ELEPHANTS) that look miserable in their surroundings! I can't go to a place like that. I have not been to Busch Gardens in YEARS so I don't know first hand myself but I hope they do better for them if that is the case. I just thank God that most of the old time cement and cage zoos are gone (I hope, have not seen one in years). But it sounds like a good trip!
My family and I rented a 5 bedroom house in WH in November and loved having a room all to ourselves. And especially 5 bathrooms!
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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Sounds like you had a great trip! TFS.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for your report! Sounds like you had a great trip overall! I love when people write these short, concise, reports that don't take days to read! Kudos!
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