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Old 04-25-2012, 02:42 PM   #31
emma212010
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Yay!! I love landing in MCO, but you're right- GET THE HECK OUTTA THERE ASAP!!!! No time to waste when you land in Orlando! How awesome and convienent for car rentals! I love it when there's no hassles. What a great idea of going to Sea World first before Disney! I always hate leaving Disney property when I'm there because I always feel lost, and like I'm losing valuable Disney time!
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:05 PM   #32
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Yay!! I love landing in MCO, but you're right- GET THE HECK OUTTA THERE ASAP!!!! No time to waste when you land in Orlando! How awesome and convienent for car rentals! I love it when there's no hassles. What a great idea of going to Sea World first before Disney! I always hate leaving Disney property when I'm there because I always feel lost, and like I'm losing valuable Disney time!
Yup! We also like to do SeaWorld on our arrival day because a) it doesn't take a full day for us to tour the park, and b) if our flight gets delayed we still won't miss any Disney Park days!
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:06 PM   #33
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #34
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Shamu Gives Us a Proper Welcome

Saturday, April 14th Part II - SeaWorld Afternoon

Now it was time for a lunch break and we decided to try the Voyager Smokehouse. It was mostly BBQ items to pick from. The food was just okay. And I was glad we didn’t purchase the all day dining. The lines were long even if you were getting in one to get just a drink. If we had purchased the dining plan, we would have felt obligated to eat our dinner as well in the park to break even. But since we didn’t enjoy the food all that much, we decided that we would do carry-out at one of the restaurants outside the park after we leave.

After lunch, we headed over to the Wild Artic exhibit. Since DS and DD aren’t tall enough, we skipped the introductory simulator ride and walked straight into the exhibit. I had remembered enjoying this exhibit a lot more the last time. There were fewer active animals but that could have been the timing of the day. The beluga whales were being fed by a couple of visitors who must have signed up for one of the VIP tours. The walruses were just veging out without much movement. I can’t even remember what the polar bear was doing. Napping I think? We got out of the exhibit a lot sooner than I thought and through the exit gift shop. Of course the kids found all sorts of souvenirs they wanted to buy but we had to get going to find a seat at One World (Shamu’s show).

DD once again piped up and said she wanted to sit in the soak zone. So we headed down the stadium and tried to find an available row in the zone that was furthest away from the tank. Once we sat down, we realized we were smack in the middle of the soak zone, and there were water puddles all over the floor. This was going to be a lot wetter than the previous show! I had packed some ponchos for everyone, so I pulled them out of the backpack and everyone put them on except for FIL. He just kind of draped it over his front like an apron. Based on the puddle patterns on the ground, he figured he would be safe from the splashes on his side of the row. Now, I remember being quite disappointed by this show the last time we saw it. There were more video footage than live action. But this time was a completely different story. There were a lot of live action performances by the whales. DW and I talked about it later and she thought this year’s show was a lot more jam packed. We think it was because the last time we were here it wasn’t that long after the tragic accident where one of the trainers was killed and they had just re-configured the show. Anyway, the show was great!



So about half way through the show, DS fell asleep cuddled against DW still wearing his poncho. And a little after that, we reached the splashing part of the show. The first time one of the whales splashed our half of the stadium, it completely missed our section and even areas that did get splashed were a good 5-6 rows below us. So part of me is letting out a relieved sigh as it looked like we would be safe. I could see DD starting to pout again with her arms folded. While the whale was splashing the other half of the stadium, one of the trainers up front pointed to our section and mouthed “Did you guys get splashed?”. Everyone in our section shook their heads no, and the trainer gave us a reassuring thumbs up and mouthed “Get ready”. Even at this point, I was still thinking we were safe. I had my poncho on but not the hood. DD, DW, and sleeping DS had their hoods on. And FIL still had the poncho draped across his lap. As soon as I saw the whale position itself getting ready to splash with its tail, I knew we were going to get soaked. I quickly reached for the hood and tried desperately to cover my head with it but I wasn’t fast enough. Next thing I saw were bucket loads of water hurling straight towards us. We got SOAKED!!! We were all laughing. DS woke up (obviously) with this shell-shocked look at first. DD was giggling at how much Grandpa got wet. And boy, did he. Not only was he not wearing his poncho, but he was practically in the center of the splash! And about two minutes later the whale got us again. The kids loved it. DS, once he regained his equilibrium, all he could talk about after the show was how “Shamu splashed me with water and woke me up!” We all had a great time.



So, here’s a public service announcement. When wearing a poncho while seated in the soak zone, please remember to make sure you have the poncho tucked underneath the seat of your pants and not just flapping in the wind behind you like I did. When the water splashes down, it streams down the back of the bleachers to the seat of the bleachers. And when you forget to tuck in the poncho on your seat but have everywhere else covered, you’ll have a very very heavily soaked spot on your bottom but nowhere else when you take the poncho off. And when you have a very soaked spot on your bottom and nowhere else, it looks like you had an unfortunate accident in your pants. Don’t be that guy who looks like he had an unfortunate accident in his pants! It was very uncomfortable for at least 30 minutes.

After the show, it was time to head towards the meeting place for the start of the “Behind the Scenes Tour.” I had initially bought tickets to the Penguins Encounter Tour as I had noticed that the penguin exhibit was closed for refurbishment. The Penguins tour sounded very interactive and youtube videos showed families interacting and petting penguins and puffins so I thought this would be something the kids would enjoy. Around mid March, SeaWorld Reservations called me to let me know they were no longer offering the penguin tour, but they could sign us up for the Behind the Scenes Tour which included petting a penguin and it was a lot cheaper. Sounded good over the phone so I went with it. Overall, we were a bit underwhelmed by it. Our tour guide was very nice and informative. But I don’t think we got to get as much interaction experience as I would have expected in a 90 minute tour. We got to look at some of the rehab/treatment tanks and heard how some of the turtles and manatees ended up in them. We then drove to the shark building and heard about different shark species. Everyone got a chance to pet a baby tiger shark. Then we went over to the Wild Artic building where we sat in next to the polar bear enclosure and they transported one of the penguins here. Everyone got a chance to pet it. In retrospect, I guess we were getting what we paid for.





Once the tour finished at the Wild Arctic building, we walked over to the Shark Encounter. They have one of those aquariums where you are walking “through it” with the tank extending over the ceilings. It works out great. Then we briefly visited the Sea Lion area and watched for a few minutes. We could tell the kids were starting to get tired and DS was getting very cranky. So we headed towards the exit and stopped at the dolphin nursery for a few minutes, then out the exit. All in all, a fun day at SeaWorld.

We checked in to Buena Vista Suites for one night. We figured since we were spending the whole day off site, might as well save us some money and avoid an extra weekend rate that still fell under the peak period. The room was nice. Had a bed room and a small living room area with a pull out sofa bed. The kids were hungry and so were the grown-ups. While everyone was settling in, I went to Chevy’s near DTD and picked up some carry-out. Much better than what we had in SeaWorld. Everyone was in bed by 8:30pm.

Next Up: Checking in at Poly and DHS!
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:37 PM   #35
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Glad you all had a nice afternoon at Sea World Dave.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:08 AM   #36
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Glad you all had a nice afternoon at Sea World Dave.
Thanks Charity! I was sort of surprised how much fewer pics I took at SeaWorld. I've got a lot more pictures on the way for my late night tour of MK and Epcot day coming up so stay tuned!
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:52 AM   #37
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Smile Hi Dave!

Great Job!! So glad to be joining in on your trip report.
A prep for ours in a few weeks!!
Although ours will be much more slow paced with our little one
in a wheelchair. Doesn't matter though, as our other two are so excited we're staying at the Polynesian!!! So glad I booked the cabanas a month ago. Something we learned on these wonderful DIS boards!!!

Thanks again for all the pictures and letting us tag along on your beautiful vacation!!!

Janice
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:17 PM   #38
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Looks like a fun day!! Sorry you had to spend part of the day looking like you peed in your pants, lol!! But I'm sure you weren't the only one
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #39
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Oh wow! I'm sure your DS's wake-up is one he'll never forget!! Too cute! Fun day!!
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:22 PM   #40
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A Polynesian Welcome

Sunday April 15th Part I – Checking into Poly and Hollywood Studios

This is where the fun really begins! After getting some much needed sleep, I woke up at 6am to start getting ready. Since we needed to check-in at Poly before heading to the DHS so that we could have our KTTW cards, I decided that it would be best if I made a solo drive to Poly from Buena Vista Suites while the rest of the gang could get ready and eat some free breakfast in the hotel. So I headed out the door around 6:30am and drove down World Center Dr and passed those beautiful arches welcoming me into Disney! When I arrived at the Poly gate, the security attendant greeted with me with an “Aloha!” and all was right with the world. I had checked in online the week before, so when I got to the lobby, I headed straight to the online check in counter at 7am. A CM was actually in the middle of putting together our folder when I approached her. Then she told me that our room was ready for us in the Tahiti Longhouse! I wasn’t expecting that. I was fully prepared to check our luggage in with the bellmen. So instead, they called over a bellman to help me get our luggage into the room on one of their golf carts. When he came over, I immediately recognized him from this VIDEO! I said “I’ve seen you before” and he replied with a smile “Uh-oh, that can’t be good”. I explained to him about the youtube video and he knew exactly what I was talking about and said he thought it was well done. I joked to him about how he must now be a mini-celebrity among us Disney fans.

Once I had all the bags in our room, I had a little time to look around the surrounding area of our longhouse. Here are the pics I took before I headed back to the minivan.

Our home for the next 7 days




Views from our room patio






The First of Many Encounters


I returned to Buena Vista Suites to pick up my family around 7:30am. They had finished breakfast and checked out. We drove back through the arches (I heard a small cheer from the kids and Grandpa) and it was only 7:35am. DW wanted to see our room and she wasn’t too excited about getting to DHS too early – despite my attempts of trying to explain to her the importance of being at the front of the line when the turnstile opens. We toured the room, got back in the car and arrived at DHS gates around 8:30am. Picked a line which had about 20 people in front. By the time the turnstiles opened at 8:48am they were approximately 60-70 people behind us. Once we were in, we headed towards TSM.

Up Next: Vader meets Phineas meets Kermit. And our first Mania experience!
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:30 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janny View Post
Great Job!! So glad to be joining in on your trip report.
A prep for ours in a few weeks!!
Although ours will be much more slow paced with our little one
in a wheelchair. Doesn't matter though, as our other two are so excited we're staying at the Polynesian!!! So glad I booked the cabanas a month ago. Something we learned on these wonderful DIS boards!!!

Thanks again for all the pictures and letting us tag along on your beautiful vacation!!!

Janice
I've got a few more Poly pictures coming up!

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Originally Posted by auprincess View Post
Looks like a fun day!! Sorry you had to spend part of the day looking like you peed in your pants, lol!! But I'm sure you weren't the only one
We did. And yes, there were a couple of other people that were sporting smiliar looks.

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Oh wow! I'm sure your DS's wake-up is one he'll never forget!! Too cute! Fun day!!
Yup, he still talks about it!
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:51 PM   #42
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Loving the Mania!

Sunday April 15th Part II- Hollywood Studios

A little more background if you haven’t read my PTR. This is practically the first time any of us were touring DHS. We skipped the park in 2011. In 2008, we made a brief visit at night for Fantasmic but that was it. So I was a bit anxious about the touring plan I had set up for this day since I wasn’t familiar with the layout of the park. I was purely going by what I had learned on DIS and at easywdw.

We almost walked on TSM. There was not much of a wait – I think we hit the line right around the staircase. I was eager to find out what all the hype was about. Honestly, I didn’t think I would like the ride that much. From the youtube videos I’ve seen, it just looked like an arcade game. Boy, was I wrong. I had a blast! My fingers and hands were cramping from the rapid fire I laid on those poor targets lol. I had DS in my lap and he held on to the gun while I pulled the string. He loved it! DD was clamoring about her score at the end of the ride. The kids immediately started asking if we could go on it again as soon as we got off the ride, so I pulled FPs for all of us after exiting. We were out by 9:15am. Our FP return window was around 10:30am.

Next we headed towards Star Tours. I had rode this one a long time ago before they updated it. DD was nervous about going on this ride. I had tried showing her youtube videos but she just couldn’t cozy up against the idea of confronting Vader. We got a Rider Swap pass for DW. DFIL, myself, and DD got in line first while DW took DS to meet Mater and Lightning. There was no wait at all. I enjoyed the ride. DFIL loved it! He was chuckling out loud during the whole ride. The 3-D aspect of the ride is what really differentiates this from the original one in my opinion. DD was pretty tense during the entire ride. Once we got off, she declared that she had absolutely no interest in trying that one again with the rider swap pass. DW was waiting with DS outside when we exited, so she and DFIL went back in with the Riderswap pass. Not that they really needed it since the standby lines were so short this time in the morning.

While they were in, I strolled over with the kids to see what Phineas and Ferb were up to. There were only about two families in line! DD had some reservations about meeting them earlier in the day so I wasn’t planning on trying it. But when she saw them from afar, she decided she DID want to meet them. We entered the line which later turned out to be not such a good idea. We made our way to the front where now only one family was waiting their turn. Before I could reach them though, a woman who was standing to the side of the line taking pictures of her kids participating in one of those re-enactments of Phineas and Ferb scenes stops me and says that they’re in line and that I should wait until her kids are done. There’s about 30 feet of empty space between her and the end of the line which, did I mention, was only ONE family? I look behind me and there’s no one! Now being a DISer, of course the first thing that flashed in my mind was, what did the line etiquette threads say about this situation? As I just stood there for a few seconds, the CM saw what was happening, and told me to move forward and politely told the lady that they make sure that they won’t have to wait any longer than necessary once the scene was completed. It’s a good thing to, because they were still working on that scene when we finished our meet and greet. Speaking of the meet and greet, it did not go well. DD planted both feet on the yellow line that separates us and Phineas and Ferb. I was carrying DS in my arm and he buried his face in my shoulder as I walked toward the guys. DD by then was holding on to my leg for dear life so I did my best Frankeinstein walk impression as I hauled both kids to the center. I’m sure it was a hilarious sight. Here’s a dad who appears to be dragging his kids to meet Phineas and Ferb! Well at least neither of the were crying and screaming. They just acted very shy. Well, I figured we made it all the way to the center of the stage, and I just had to get pass the lady gatekeeper to get to this point, might as well hand my photopass card over and get it over with. There must have been something about the bigger than life versions of Phineas and Ferb that was imposing to the kids. We had absolutely no further problems with any of the characters we interacted with.

By the time we finished that meet and greet, DW called and said they were exiting the Star Tours, so I told them we would meet them in front of Muppetvision 3D. Tried taking some photos of the fountain. Boy, does the statue of Miss Piggy spin fast or what? Trying to capture her at the exact right time so that she’s looking straight at my camera and not her derriere required several attempts!

Derriere


Better


The show was cute. Kids liked it. DD nearly poked another child sitting in front of her when those 3D bubbles started floating out of the screen and she tried to pop one.

By the time we made it out, it was time to head back to TSM to use our FPs. Had to warn the kids ahead of the time that this would be the second and last time we’ll go on this ride. We all enjoyed it again, and for the rest of the week we heard choruses of “We want Toy Story ride!” from both kids so they must have really enjoyed it.

Now it was time to give the kids the opportunity to burn off some energy at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. By this point, there were two things I wanted to do that we couldn’t fit into our plans. I really wanted to get a picture of me riding the Star Wars Speeder Bike in front of Star Tours. Yes, I’m a Star Wars fan. Another one was meeting Mike and Sulley near the Backlot Tours. After how the kids reacted to Phineas and Ferb, it wasn’t looking good trying this one for them, so we just skipped it. The playground was great! The kids tried most of the slides. DS got mentally stuck inside a tunnel – I say mentally as he could have easily physically handled it but he got too scared to go forward or backward on his own. The rope net structure was a big hit. DS got to ride on the ant.

"I feel so small in here!"






Up Next: We found our new favorite ride!
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:18 PM   #43
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What an awesome start to Day 1 of Disney Dave! We were both in DHS that day right? No photo-bombs yet, but it looks like we were taking a slightly different path than you through the park.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:35 PM   #44
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Great day so far!! and that Miss Piggy is hard to catch ~ I was trying to get a picture of her and my two big girls (actually looking and smiling at the same time)...didn't work out too well!
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:09 AM   #45
Janny
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Smile

I LOVE the reaction your DFIL had on the ride!
That image is really the heart of what is Disney!!
Walt really captured every ingredient for a perfect recipe
wrapped up in these terrific parks. The kids are having great reactions
too.....they sound adorable!!
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