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Old 12-20-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
mikkiwikki
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TRIP REPORT - The OtHeR SiDe of OrlanDo -lodging at WINDSOR HILLS

(Why isn't there a section for NON disney pretrip reports? Well - build it and they will come...right?)...HMMMMmmMM WELL
- There has to be a first for everything, & I'm happy to blaze that path. In 4 days me & my little family will be traveling to MCO....
SooOoOoExcited that I decided to start a PRETrip report.

>>>Join me in the FIRST ever NON-disney Orlando Trip report! ...drum roll Puhleeezz........



***2012- The OtHeR Side of Orlando Christmas xtraVaGanZa -*****



The NonSuspecting participants:
DS is 11 - very in love with technology at this age.
DD is 9 - very in love with all things dogs and horseys
DH - Just along for the ride...and excited to have a nice getaway from local family drama

The suspecting and directing participant
ME - loving escaping the northern climes even for the briefest of reprives.

QUICK PHOTO LINKS
Windsor Hills Pool
Windsor Hills Condo 304 vacation central florida


The plan is to travel to MCO the day before Christmas..
(will update these with hyperlinks when we go to events)

December 23rd OPEN GIFTS at home in Vermont

Dec 24, 2011 Christmas Eve
NOON Arrive @ MCO -Get Rental Car
Stop at Grocery store???
3:00 checkin to WINDSOR HILLS
Decorate Christmas Tree
LUNCH AT PERKINS

5:00 PM Have Dinner in Condo or out?

Dec 25, 2011 ChristmasDay - HANG OUT AT WINDSOR HILLS
8:00am Open a few presents..
11:00 AM Watch the Parading of the Ducks
12:00 PM BRUNCH Peabody hotel - SHHHH! its a Secret!!...Seeing the ducks...Brunch

Dec 26, 2011 UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
Bubba Gumps @City Walk {Need to scroll down a few for this one...}

Dec 27, 2011

Dec 28, 2011 UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
MYTHOS
Grinchmas


Dec 29, 2011 GATORLAND
6:00 PM ARABIAN NIGHTS

Dec 30, 2011 KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

Dec 31, 2011 SWIM DAY
Ponderosa

Jan 1, 2012 Orlando science Center

Jan 2, 2012 Not sure

Jan 3, 2012 Not sure

Jan 4, 2012 Leave
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As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills

Last edited by mikkiwikki; 07-22-2012 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 Have a wonderful holiday trip
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:16 PM   #3
mikkiwikki
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Hooray my first reader!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Pirates2Princesses View Post
Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 Have a wonderful holiday trip


Thanks so much! I cannot wait...and funny but DD is more excited for Gatorland on this next adventure than Harry Potter! Agast

So far the bags are packed, Condo/Airline/Tickets paid for and organized, artineraries printed.Need to finalize a grocery list for when we arrive...

I do have to pick up some PS2 games for the condo...Im sure other todos will pop into my head... Thanks for reading!
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As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
GypsyPearl
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Looks like fun. We did the non-Disney Orlando this summer and had a blast. Don't underestimate Gatorland. We did a night-time, after hours tour where we got a chance to feed some alligators as well as see some of the exhibits at night with no crowds. We also got the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor, a tarantula, and a baby alligator. So much fun!
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:10 AM   #5
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Suggested activity

If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.
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Last trip to WDW and US, March 8-17, 2013
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:15 AM   #6
loveysbydesign
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woo-hoo...looking forward to this TR!
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May 2006-1st family trip to WDW! Loved Windsor Hills! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$1800
Nov. 13-22 2007-2nd trip to WDW with Baby Hartley #3-it's a boy!!! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$2200
May 2009- 3 nights in a 2 bedroom at SSR and then our 1st Disney cruise on the Magic! Total cost for 2 Cat. 12's -upgraded to Cat. 10's=$2900

June 11-20 2010- Our super cheap, surprising the kids, 1st time driving, celebrating Ryan's 3rd birthday trip! Total cost=$950
Nov.12-22, 2010 Took our in-laws along for their 1st trip ever! Stayed at Indian Creek and had a blast!
Oct.10-15, 2011 Crazy Columbus Crowds(did YES program) & cruised on the Dream Oct. 16-20
Oct. 19-29, 2012 Our trip re-do w/the in-laws, swam w/ the manatees & drove home through Sandy!
June 21-30, 2013 Celebrating our 17th anniversary!
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Old 12-21-2011, 02:57 PM   #7
2Pirates2Princesses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.

This sounds nice and a chance to explore a part of central Florida that doesn't involve another theme park or tourist attraction.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:08 PM   #8
MissDaisyofTexas
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Sounds like a great trip!

The last 2 trips with our kids (well, the only 2 trips with our kids) we've only done Disney. We are thinking the next time we go in a few years (when the kids are older) we'd like to do some non-Disney things, like Harry Potter and even some of the non-Disney dinner shows. I feel like there's a whole other world we're missing out on! LOL
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:59 PM   #9
mikkiwikki
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Hey GypsyPearl thanks for readin

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyPearl View Post
Looks like fun. We did the non-Disney Orlando this summer and had a blast. Don't underestimate Gatorland. We did a night-time, after hours tour where we got a chance to feed some alligators as well as see some of the exhibits at night with no crowds. We also got the opportunity to hold a boa constrictor, a tarantula, and a baby alligator. So much fun!
Thanks GypsyPearl! SO NICE to hear that you had a great experience.
My daughter is a true animal lover. Animal Kingdom is her favorite park, and we have never been to Gatorland. Actually a few years ago (2007?) when Gatorland had the fire I was so sad, seeing it on the news...thinking oh MAN we never had a chance to see it! But it sounds like they really restored everything and we are really looking forward to seeing it. Seriously its going to be the highlight of the trip for DD. Id love to see a boa & a Albino gator!

DS however wants nothing to do with the animals... and primarily wants Universal & Kennedy Space center. Im kinda bummed we wont be at Kennedy Space center during a launch but I'm sure it will be fun nonetheless!

Thanks for reading, and Im getting really psyched up for this trip. I'll try to journal our adventure. Stay tuned!
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As a Kid 1978,80,82,84,89 - POLY
As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills

Last edited by mikkiwikki; 01-17-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:07 PM   #10
mikkiwikki
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Exclamation Blue Springs Awesome suggestion

Quote:
Originally Posted by bankr63 View Post
If you are looking for something inexpensive to do on a "Not Sure" day, I think your DD (and the rest of the family) might enjoy Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee will be in the springs in mid-winter and they are really cool to see. It's a bit of a drive (~30-45 min if I recall) but admission is really reasonable.

The guided boat trip on the St Johns river is a bit more expensive but really fascinating. Our guide was amazing; knew all the local flora and fauna! The tour is privately operated, but leaves from a dock inside the park.

Just google Blue Spring State Park for more information on both the park and cruise.
Wow - cool - After your post I looked this up... I actually got this cool book called "Around Orlando with KIDS - 60 Great Things to do Together by FODOR's" and Blue Springs is item 3! The book states" When the waterways get cold usually around November a favorite manatee haunt is sBlue Spring State Park. where the spring water bubbles up to an agreeable 72degrees. up to 150 mantees ...swim from St. Johns River to gather at the spring. Youll be able to watch these unusual mamals swimming in the spring often with babiesby their sides."

My DD would LOVE this! Thanks for suggesting this! I'm totally adding this to my artinerary.
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As a Kid 1978,80,82,84,89 - POLY
As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:14 PM   #11
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exploring we shall go

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissDaisyofTexas View Post
Sounds like a great trip!

The last 2 trips with our kids (well, the only 2 trips with our kids) we've only done Disney. We are thinking the next time we go in a few years (when the kids are older) we'd like to do some non-Disney things, like Harry Potter and even some of the non-Disney dinner shows. I feel like there's a whole other world we're missing out on! LOL
Thanks MissDaisyofTexas -

Yes after years on the Disney train, we decided, we needed to explore. After all it's what Walt would do - isn't it? Explore everything Florida has to offer? I'm very excited to see the other side of Orlando, and the family is too.
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As a Kid 1978,80,82,84,89 - POLY
As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:21 PM   #12
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Thanks loveysbydesign

Quote:
Originally Posted by loveysbydesign View Post
woo-hoo...looking forward to this TR!
Thanks Loveysbydesign - Glad you are following my first ever non-disney TR
I'm slowly weaning myself off the mouse...but the questions around the disney bubble....keep nagging at me...such as

1) WILL we be able to transition to experiencing ...a completely FINGER SCAN FREE day?...
(actually Im looking forward very much to **NOT*** finger scanning...)
2) Will we be able to deal with not having to wait in line? or carry little red placard necklaces to a ride attendant?
(well ok there might be lines at Universal...who am I kidding)
3) Will I be able to deal with not having to sit on the floor of a bus?
4) Will I be able to deal with 3 bedrooms...me and my husband sleeping in a KING bed with ample space, as well as my children having their own beds? (as opposed to crammed into a single room)

Pleeze...tell me it will be ok?

A Little voice tells me..."yknow what it will be fine...I believe we can & we will" agree?
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As a Kid 1978,80,82,84,89 - POLY
As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills

Last edited by mikkiwikki; 12-21-2011 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:51 PM   #13
mikkiwikki
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Pirates2Princesses View Post
Sounds fun! I've read trip reports on the Universal Studios/IOA and Sea World forums which is probably why a separate, dedicated forum hasn't been made for non-Disney parks trip reports. We are considering a non-Disney Orlando trip this summer to visit Legoland and Sea World, but at this point we're not 100% sure because we're planning to go to back to WDW in 2013 so we may need to focus on saving rather than spending in 2012 Have a wonderful holiday trip
Thanks 2Pirates2Princesses
(btw how do you manage that!? one of each is all I can handle )
Your right I guess I couldve logged this in the Universal forum however, we really dont consider this a Universal trip...(even tho my ticker indicates otherwise...but there was no ticker with gators I could find) ...Most prominently because we are staying offsite , with a focus on seeing orlando and eating offsite as well. I can't wait to explore the surrounding non-theme park area

Yknow I bet the wifi is better at Windsor Hills than it was at the Polynesian. (see my last TR)
I can't wait to test!
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As a Kid 1978,80,82,84,89 - POLY
As Parent 2005 POR/2006 CBR/2007 SunsetLakes/ 2008 Pop.Contemporary/2009 Pop/2010 POFQ/2010 RPH.CSR/ 2011 Pop.Poly /2011 & 2012 WindsorHills / 2013 - Windsor Hills
Mikki Hubby Aidan & Sandy Misty Guido
My Trippies:
2008 ThanksGiving TR POP-O-LICIOUS / CR Summer 2011 POLYTASTIC EXTRAVAGANZA
2011- Christmas in Orlando WindsorHills XtraVaGanZa
2012 - SUMMER POP & Windsor Hills
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:55 PM   #14
shalom
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You might look into "Showcase of Citrus," where you can pick your own fruit and they've got "eco tours" which my kids at those ages would get a kick out of. Lots of stuff you can pick now -- we've never gone because there's nothing to pick when we're out there!

http://www.showcaseofcitrus.com/

How about a day at the beach? Or one day on the Atlantic, one on the Gulf? If you go to Cocoa Beach or thereabouts for the beach, you could fit in a trip to the Brevard zoo, which has an obstacle course and (memory serves) canoeing and stuff.

There's also a state park that's practically a zoo, but all (or mostly all) local animals -- Manatee, Florida panther, bobcats, otters, bear, key deer, alligators, birds, etc. At least an hour away, though.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/hom...gs/default.cfm
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:41 PM   #15
sara mom
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Gatorland! We loved it! We were there the day after Thanksgiving and there were hardly any people. The only thing I wish I had done there was the ziplining! Awesome experience...my son loved sitting with boa constrictor around his neck.

Enjoy your trip!
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