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Old 06-01-2011, 09:58 AM   #1816
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Originally Posted by manntra View Post
I didn't know you were going to the dark side either?!!! Can't wait to hear about your last venture!!
Love all of your good byes and the squirrel picture cracked me up....don't know why!! Great last meal at CM....we have dinner there before MNSSHP but may add breakfast as well
Well if C and I decide to test the IG closing we will have my niece to pull us along in a wagon so we'll be okay


Tracy
I am cracking up that you guys didn't know! Very funny

That squirrel was cracking us up!

I can't wait to hear what happens if you put it to the test (the IG closing) now THAT will make for a good story.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:20 PM   #1817
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Hi Cynthia! I am all caught up again.

Looks like a great dinner at Teppan Edo! I'm glad the E's were able to enjoy it as much as you did. My boys loved the "flying bread place" as they called Teppanyaki places at their ages. This was because some of our encounters were at places where the cook would toss the garlic bread around.

I am sad to see you leaving YC, but looking forward to your dark adventures. Nice breakfast for your send off.

"Clampetts go to Hard Rock!"
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:28 AM   #1818
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Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post
Hi Cynthia! I am all caught up again.

Looks like a great dinner at Teppan Edo! I'm glad the E's were able to enjoy it as much as you did. My boys loved the "flying bread place" as they called Teppanyaki places at their ages. This was because some of our encounters were at places where the cook would toss the garlic bread around.

I am sad to see you leaving YC, but looking forward to your dark adventures. Nice breakfast for your send off.

"Clampetts go to Hard Rock!"
Hi Tammie!

Yep, the Clampetts go to the Hard Rock. Now there's a visual image for you huh!

The E's would be all over flying bread. That reminds me of the days when they used to call Starbucks the "chocolate milk store"

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Old 06-04-2011, 01:20 PM   #1819
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I'm sad that you're leaving Disney, but, I'll admit, excited to hear all about the dark side!
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:40 AM   #1821
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Bad mama

We’d been to the Islands of Adventure before. Not all of us, but Jeff, Myself and the E’s. Of course given that they were 4 and 5 they didn’t remember much. We’d all been to Universal before, but the CA version and given that the E’s were 2&3 for that one and K&T, though older (7 and 12 maybe?) they were all pretty darn clueless.

None of us had ever set foot in, even walked by, any of the Universal (Loews) Resorts. Heck, I didn’t even realize they existed. To me, City Walk was something you well, walked through. Like a shopping gauntlet I had to keep kids out of, full of bad restaurants with the occasional Jamba Juice break. Granted, this jaded view was a bit influenced by my long tenure at Starbucks on the foodservice side of the coffee business. City Walk had some locations that were very controversial in the company and it skewed my view for whatever reason.

So, driving to the Hard Rock, I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to several Hard Rock Café’s. They were fine and to an extent, predictable. Recently one opened in Seattle and we’d gone for dinner one night. It was a bit overpriced but everyone except Kendall, really liked it. She had a bad burger (and it was definitely bad. Kids size I think and small and WAYYYY overdone). But that’s the café. Not the hotel. When we’d decided to do Universal and stay at an actual Universal resort, choosing to do so for the “front of the line pass” that comes with a resort stay and could be key to surviving the Harry Potter crowds (not to mention an hour earlier am access to the WWOHP…aka Wizarding World of Harry Potter) we’d looked into them all. For those of you who don’t know, there are 3. The Royal Pacific (RPH), Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) and the Portofino. Truly, they all looked great and all get outstanding reviews. RPH was more in our budget and Jeff loved the seaplane theming but we decided to let the big kids pick. Our favorite rocker, Taylor, of COURSE picked Hard Rock.

We sucked up the cost difference, bought an all access pass which would get us discounts, credits and a possible upgrade. We also changed our dates after Paul found out his conflict so that Universal fell into the “low rate” season and lowered our overall cost quite a bit. A quick note on the all access pass (I think that’s what it’s called; basically it’s the Hard Rock “membership “card. For $25 I got a cinch sack, a 3 month subscription to Rolling Stone, a pin and $20 loaded on our all access pass card. It came with “upgrades if available” on any room booking and a 10% discount on all food, as well as getting coupons, etc via email. When we’d gone to the new café we’d used a member coupon. As you might imagine, buying one was kind of a no brainer.

This is what you see pulling up. As I was still Ellie Mae like in the van, I didn’t exactly take pictures. And, as always happens on day 1 of a trip (and this felt like day 1 with the change of venue) not many pictures at all.




Not too shabby huh

The lobby (again, borrowed pictures).




NiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Now I felt really Clampett like and couldn’t WAIT to get rid of the bags. Bell Services took most of them but left us with our carry-ons and lunch bag(s)
I went to check us in. As a recurring theme the question was….were the room connecting? Except this time, I could also ask about our “all access” upgrade and see if we were really going to get one. We’d booked garden view rooms, hoping for pool view.

Check in was a breeze, but our rooms weren’t ready.

Some of us headed down to change and then hit the pool. We used a random restroom, near one of the main pool level exits. Even the area outside of the bathroom was cool. I thought I took a picture but apparently not. Maybe I did later in the trip. Oh well!

“Some of us” was….Myself, Kendall, and the E’s. If memory serves, Sandie and Paul wanted to do something (for the life of me no idea what…maybe just not change in front of the rest of us) so they didn’t change.
Jeff was still dealing with logistics.

Those of us that were ready for the pool headed out. Guessing it was about 1:30 at this point.

This is what we saw as we walked out



And the view from our loungers





Pretty isn’t it!

But crowded. Definitely a full hotel, as they’d told me when I checked in. We'd found loungers, in the shade but…right next to the smoking area. No one else was there and we planned to be in the pool, not the loungers but, we still chose chairs as far away as possible. Just in case. Which wasn’t all that far. Thankfully, this day, it worked out great and we loved the spot.

There is something about the packing up and moving, whether it’s to another hotel or the airport that is a bit wearing and that last lunch run had me feeling a little travel worn. The pool felt AMAZING! It’s a cool pool and while I don’t have many pictures here, there will be more, I promise. It was very interesting to compare all the pools at this point. I loved loved loved the look of the hard rock pool. And honestly, it was a much better (cooler) water temperature than SAB or the YC quiet pool. BUT….it was shallow. Ridiculously shallow in spots. The boys, Kendall and I checked out the slide and then Kendall and I decided to float around, looking for cute boys. Or at least boys Kendall thought was cute. It was kind of a riot, we floated around (really more like walking crouched down to stay wet, very awkward given how shallow it was), seeing what we could see. I kept pointing out boys that apparently were either too young, or too old, I had a hard time getting it right. I swear we did this for at least 45 minutes. It was fun.

Paul and Sandie appeared at some point and settled into the shade, wasting no time ordering a poolside cocktail. I will say, the poolside cocktail service was very attentive and…the waitresses in outfits I’m quite sure Taylor would appreciate.

It was the Hard Rock after all.

However, Taylor wasn’t there. In fact, as I found out a little bit after Sandie and Paula arrived, Taylor was in a cab on the way to the Vans skate park, which was actually located not all that far from Universal. Safely off, with the cab instructed to pick him up at a certain time, pre-paid and numbers exchanged Jeff was finally ready for the pool. He still hadn’t heard from the seaplane folks and was not happy. Getting wet, and a pool drink, helped. We inhaled our lunches and basically just stayed in the pool all afternoon. Most of us did anyway. At a about 3pm I finally got the call that our rooms were ready and went to pick up our keys and get our luggage moved up and do my unpacking. I vastly prefer unpacking with no one else around and was pleased they were all occupied so I could get us settled and check out the room.

We’d booked a garden view.

Check out what we got.







Pool view! Through a lot of garden type views lol. The Hard Rock does not have balconies, actually neither does the RPH and most of Portofino. It was such a pretty view it would have been even lovlier had we had a balcony.

Oh well.

The rest of the room

Sleeping area



Vanity outside the bathroom



Our “bar” with the remaining rum and beer we’d brought with us from the YC



The view with the drapes open (terrible picture, new camera will do a much better job)



Wall art and TV



Close up just in case you couldn’t tell who it was



Cool chair and view



The chair had to get moved in Sandie and Paul’s room to allow for the rollaway. Unlike the YC, no daybed so we had to get a rollaway



Just next door, Sandie and Paul had a slightly better pool view



Continued in next post
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:49 AM   #1822
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Bad Mama

When I went back down, some of the campers were a little cooked



Understandable, they’d been at the pool nonstop for a good 2.5 hours and it was HOT! I’d made everyone, Eric in particular, reapply sunscreen and wear his hat and swim shirt. Everyone had eaten their lunch though we still had a ton of drinks, in part from all those extra credits. NO rain or lightening breaks today

We were glad to be in the shade. All except for Eric who kept playing happily away in the pool. Taylor arrived back about 4 and went for a quick dip in the pool. Despite the helmet factor, he’d enjoyed himself. We stayed down there about another hour and then went up to shower and head to dinner.

Pretty sunset from our room!



Getting dressed involved some drama. Evan’s favorite shorts had gotten wet while in the bag he’d used as his “carry on” for the day. The red from the Disney bag had rubbed onto his shorts. I could NOT get it out.



He couldn’t find his other shorts and neither could Kendall. After we helped them figure out alternate outfits I was finally able to get dressed and ready to go, I were looking forward to heading to one of our favorite places in the world and all of a sudden….

“I don’t feel so good”

“Are you going to get sick?”

“I think so”



And he did.

Eric that is.

By now it was 7 and we had a 7:30 reservation. With a full hotel and an unclear idea of how long it would take to get to dinner, I sent the rest on to Margaritatville, without me. With an early pre-RD All Access start planned to beat the crowds to Harry Potter, we just couldn’t risk it, at all. Eric was freaking out that he’d be missing Harry Potter as it was and sleep was the only thing that would possible save the day.

And sent Eric to bed.



As Heidi hinted I made a post on facebook about this time. It said...

Bad Mama.

I’d been GREAT about keeping Eric from burning. I had been a complete and utter failure about keeping him hydrated. Despite witnessing it (remotely) at AK the day before none of us had made sure anyone except ourselves, were drinking enough liquids. In a weird way it was almost like we were a little high on having such a long, uninterrupted pool time and just loving it, not thinking about anything else. Everyone else had self hydrated and removed themselves to shade when the heat got to them. In the pool almost the entire time, though he’d eaten lunch and had a little to drink then, he hadn’t had anything since then.

Bad Mama.

Eric slept for TWO hours!

I was getting hungry so I ordered room service. I ordered something that if he woke, he’d like.

I didn’t want to wake him so sat in the dark, and checked out our night view.



The food arrived and I dug in. Both into my book and the food, I had to have light to eat.



Shortly after that, Eric woke up and wanted to try to eat. The wine was mine.



Not exactly how I’d planned our first universal night to go but to be honest, not that I’m glad he got sick (of course I’m not) I didn’t mind the solo time with a book, a pretty pool, live music blaring from the pool (that turned off just in time when I was ready for bed) and no one asking me for anything.

I guess we both needed a break.

He ate a little, drank lots of water and felt a TON better. So I sent him back to sleep. Definitely a night that will stick with both of us. Just Saturday Eric was self regulating his sunscreen, asking how long we’d been out so he could reapply and really watching his skin and yesterday was very good about the water. It is scary how easy it is to lose track of how hydrated (or not) you are when you are cool, spf’d and covered up, and happy in the pool. So pathetic that we'd SEEN it happen just the day before and still allowed it to happen to us. We knew better.

I’m not sure what time the gang rolled in but it wasn’t horribly late. They’d loved Margaritaville and it sounded like a fun time though pretty busy and loud but full of entertainment. We sent everyone to bed, even the big kids. Tomorrow was the big day. Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The crowd reports for this were INSANE. While our Front of the Line pass room keys would be wonderful for many rides, it wasn’t an option on the Forbidden Journey. The park opened at 9. However, thanks to the fact that we were staying at a Universal Hotel, we could get in at 8. All that would open early was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and only to those with the room keys, or that had a Harry Potter offsite hotel package through Universal. Thanks to the fact that I read the DIS I knew they were often opening the park earlier than 8, more like 7:45. Our goal was to be out the door around 7 to allow for travel time. Everyone had agreed and seemed up for it but I was nervous. Would those big kids and grandparents be able to do it? Would it be impossible to get them up? Would some of us just take off without them? If we did, would they get lost trying to find us later having never been into the park before?

Off to see a wizard!

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Old 06-06-2011, 11:35 AM   #1823
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OOH, poor Eric! I'm glad he recovered quickly. Sometimes I enjoyed a little break from the family on those big group vacations too.
Seems like a pretty dang nice hotel! How was the service there?

Such a cliffhanger!!! I'm really anxious to hear how the morning goes now! Don't leave us too long!
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:03 PM   #1824
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Oh, I'm sorry that Eric got sick, but it's good you were able to get him to rest and take care of it before your big Harry Potter experience the next day. And, it didn't sound like you minded a more-relaxing evening in the room. Speaking of which, the rooms look really nice.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:50 PM   #1825
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Well, I'll be back to see your view and your other pictures, but I did enjoy your update. Poor Eric! Dehydration is really the pits. I remember not drinking enough one day at the beach (as a teen/young adult) and needing to drink about 6 bottles of liquid before I felt human again. It is actually rather scary, which is why I carry water wherever I go in Florida (as I'm sure you noticed). I'm a little OCD about that.

I am so glad he was fine and sorry that you had to miss dinner, but it could have been much worse.

Can't wait to see the pix and ready about Harry Potter. That's the part I've been waiting for.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:30 PM   #1826
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A little down time is good on a vacation with so many people. I'm just sorry it involved a sick kid.

My favorite day of vacation several years ago was when DH & our 3 boys, and my step-son, his wife and 2 boys all went to the water park and left me back at the resort to do laundry! We were all sharing a 2 BR unit at Old Key West, we had the master bedroom, our 3 were in the living room, and step son & family were in the 2nd bedroom - but usually hung out in the living room. I was so thrilled for the peace and quiet - I opened our patio door and let the breeze in, laid on the couch reading a book, getting up periodically to switch clothes from washer to dryer. For lunch I walked over to the counter place by the main pool and got some conch fritters and a tuna salad sandwich. The only sound in the room was the washer & dryer running and the curtain blowing in the breeze
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:10 PM   #1827
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Mystery of the FB comment has be answered! I had been worried that Eric was too short to ride something at Universal and that's what the comment was about. I think room service, a book and no one bugging you is a great way to spend an evening!!!
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:12 PM   #1828
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Hard Rock looks really nice! Sorry E was sick. That is no fun, especially on vacation!

On the edge of my seat! Waiting to hear about WWoHP.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:38 PM   #1829
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HRH is just beautiful!
So sorry Eric got sick. Thank goodness he recovered quickly!
I can't wait to find out if you got to the WWoHP early and who actually got up and went with you.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:00 PM   #1830
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Sometimes being dehydrated just sneaks up on you. Glad you took the time and enjoyed it to boot.


I'm glad you were able to fix that problem pretty fast.

Looking forward to the morning.
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