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Old 06-06-2004, 04:20 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 69

trip report 21st may to 4th june

Friday 21st May
Leave Glasgow with Thomas Cook on time.
Given a free upgrade to Thomas Cook plus
Arrive Orlando 17.30pm
Immigration gets worse - a cattle market!
Pickup the car and head off to Greater Groves using the 417 - everything OK until Celebration turnoff, and take the wrong road and end up in Celebration. Takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get onto 192.
Note: The car was a Grand Caravan mini-van and I was the only driver. We had four adults and two kids. This was a really tight squeeze with six suitcases, and hand luggage.

Get to the villa to find the management company have not done their job - villa not cleaned properly, pool dirty, security lights don't work, and worst of all - air con doesn't work.
Spend the rest of the evening waiting for people to fix AC. First twosome didn't have tools, next one couldn't fix as he said a new part was required, third guy rewired and the aircon was working but always on - villa owner won't be pleased!
In between the second repair person and the third I went to a 7/11 for basic groceries.
Air Con finally fixed at 12.40am.

Saturday 22nd May - Magic Kingdom
Breakfast at Golden Coral on 192 - excellent and very big selection buffet. Highly recommended.

Because it's a Saturday, have two nieces (10 and 8) who insist on stopping at what seems like every stall and shop, and very hot (90++) - we only get Adventureland (Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Alladdin, and Enchanted Tiki Room. Missed Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse - big queues for some strange reason) and Country Bears Jamboree which is now a bit dated. Our intention to stay for Spectro and Dreams is abandoned as we are still making up for the previous night.
Lots of photo and autograph opportunities - small queues.

Dinner at Wild Jack's - food cold.

Sunday 23rd May - Epcot
Breakfast at villa.
Drive to Boardwalk and walk round into Epcot. Spend the day at Epcot.
The Living Seas pavilion was a disappointment - nothing changed apart from Nemo inviting you to see his friends. I expected a Nemo ride or presentation - just a static display at the entrance. This is just trying to copy Seaworld, and not well done.

Again, lots of photo and autographs - including Snow White and six dwarfs (Grumpy wouldn't be photographed or give autographs. A bit too near the character's personality which leaves kids more than disappointed).

Have dinner at the Nine Dragons restaurant in China World Showcase - excellent.

Monday 24th May - Seaworld
The best show is Seamore and Clyde, and the Dolphin show now surpasses the Shamu show which is now very poor. Some of the stunts / tricks or whatever you want to call them which were in the day day show are in the Shamu Rocks America which is much better.
The Tower was closed. At one point Atlantis was broken down.

Missed the exit on I4
Note: The first few days driving are a nightmare because of the signs. I took the wrong roads on numerous occassions. Once I ended up at Magic Kingdom car park turnstiles after 10.00pm, drove through and ended up on the correct exit road. The worst sign was on I4 west where the turn off for 192 west is very badly signed. The exit sign shows 192 east, and it's only after you take the exit that you see that the road forks to 192 east and 192 west.
My advice is get a good navigator to help.

Dinner at Sizzlers on 192 - average.

Tuesday 25th May - Typhoon Lagoon
Love the tubes just drifting around the park. The surf wave is too strong for me standing with water just above my knees! The Gang Plank Falls family raft is really good.
Spend only four hours here, but it was so warm that it was enough.

Dinner at Pondorosa (west side of 192) - good value $8.99 7oz Sirloin plus the all you can eat buffet. Excellent service.

Went to MK for Spectro and Dreams - excellent.
The crowds were the biggest I have ever seen at MK. I suspect that it's because Spectro is only on Tuesday and Saturday.
Massive lines to get out using monorail, but to Disneys credit we were out in a reasonable time.

Wednesday 26th May - Busch Gardens
Early start to get to Busch Gardens. The Serengeti Safari tour (extra cost) is excellent if you have anyone who wants to feed giraffes. The Katonga show is similar in concept to the Festival of the Lion King but nothing comes close to Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom.
The Morroccan Roll seems like Hi De Hi where the happy, smiling faces are obviously forced as they try unsuccessfully to convince you that you are enjoying the show. Unless you want some shade give this a pass.

All the rides we tried were very good. Didn't go on any roller coasters, and didn't feel we missed out as we left at the park closing.

In my opinion, Busch Gardens is far superior to Animal Kingdom.

Back late - Pizza Hut carry out.

Thursday 27th May - Shopping
Orlando Premium Outlets and Beltz. Some items are similar prices to UK. Some are more expensive. Up at Kirkman there are a couple of stores we were interested in seeing - Michaels and Books-A-Million. My wife was pricing watercolour and acrylic brushes - actually cheaper in the UK for the same items. Books-A-Million is a real con. The website prices are discounted the retail store was not.

Went to IHOP on I Drive near Kirkman for dinner. Paid more attention to the menu than the surroundings. It was only after we had ordered that we noticed it was not very clean and later found the toilets were disgusting.

Friday 28th May - Universal
The line times were good apart from Shrek. Back to the Future 10 minutes - this still looks fresh even after 10 + years, Jaws - 10 minutes, Earthquake - 15 minutes.
Shrek - forget it. 10.00am and the Express passes are finished for day - 90 minutes wait.
I wasn't intending to go to the Beetlejuice show having seen it before, but the kids wanted to see it, and it was still very good.
I couldn't remember the Earthquake scenerio, and it is easily forgettable. Into the subway train - travel to next subway - a bit of a rumble, water, fire - back to original station to get off - Catastrophe Canyon better.

Dinner at Ming Court. No longer a real chinese restaurant - looks the part but the food is Americanised. For example, I wanted a curry. The nearest on the menu was Indian Curry and the waitress explained it was cooked the way Americans perceived a curry to be.
Apart from the sweets the food was average. The Nine Dragons at Epcot much much better and similarly priced.

Saturday 29th - Magic Kingdom
Character Breakfast at the Crystal Palace. The booking was for 8.05am but instructed to be there at 7.55 am. The cast members will NOT allow you into the park before 8.00am, but that is no problem. Incidently, the security checks at all the parks are a complete waste of time. Any determined person could avoid detection.
The Crystal Palace breakfast was excellent - really good quality, and the characters interacted very well. Highly Recommended.

Managed to do quite a lot this visit even though it was Memorial weekend - Mickey's Philharmagic (actually it should be named after Donald Duck) is the best 3D in any of the parks, Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square Riverboat (waste of time), Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Show White's Scary Adventures, Cinderella's Golden Carousel, Dumbo (my wife felt really embarrassed as we were the only adult couple on the ride - who cares, as we kept getting reminded "you'll never see these people again", Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Mickey's House, Minnie's House, Toontown Hall of Fame.
Plenty of photo and autograph opportunities.
The Barnstormer at Goofy's Farm was 50 minutes - too long didn't wait.
Note: Although the WDW railroad stops at Toontown you can't get off as the station is being refurbished.

Dinner at Shoneys on 192 near Sherberth (sp?) - very poor, and toilets not clean.

Sunday 30th - Animal Kingdom.
Apart from Festival of the Lion King I think Animal Kingdon is very poor. Busch Gardens is superior.

Dinner at Ponderosa on 192 west - excellent value and service.

Monday 31st - Shopping
Mall at Millenia is some place. Window shopping only.
Then Florida Mall - my wife wanted a shoulder bag in Sears, but the price tag was missing. The staff tried to say that a similar bag was the same price, and we should take that bag to get scanned but pay for the bag she wanted - don't think so! I asked to see a manager.
Now maybe it's me, but where the customer facing staff (assistants to you and me) are very helpful and friendly the higher you go the less helpful and friendly they get. I heard the manager say to the assistant "what to they want" in a not particularly nice way, and she wasn't really communicative to us. Eventually she went away with the bag, and sent someone else back (I assume this was the dept supervisor) with the resolution. This person had a real attitude problem "you say there's none of my bags priced", "I'll give you 10% off".
Eventually my wife bought the bag - very cool. I would have stuffed the bag over the supervisor's head and been arrested.
We comment about the poor service and attitude in the UK, but it's just under the surface in the US as well.

Dinner at villa

Tuesday 1st June - MGM
Voyage of The Little Mermaid - a very abrupt ending - was that it? Great Movie Ride was a long wait because it seemed the flowthrough of the cars had slowed down from the first time we were on this ride. The wait time indicated was 30 minutes, but more like fifty. Very dated now. Kids don't know most of the films and stars. Not worth the wait. Studio Backlot Tour still good with Catastrophe Canyon. Muppet 3D is now dated in comparison to Philharmagic. Star Tours good, but Back to the Future better. Indiana Jones still excellent. Magic of Disney Animation is fair if you have a budding artist, the first part is boring, the second worse - this is where they tell you the animators have merged with Disney California (i.e made redundant), the third part has an artist showing you how to draw Mickey while you join in, and you take your picture home - very good.
I'd have preferred a Walt presentation (I'm sure that I saw Walt giving the intro to the annimation tour in our first visit in 1994 (could be wrong).
Beauty and the Beast was very good.
Didn't attempt to see Fantasmic - too long a wait.

Wednesday 2nd June - Seaworld
Breakfast at Pondorosa - South I drive - poor buffet, and extremely poor service.

Catchup on what we've missed. Wild Artic, Hospitality Centre (free Bud), Odyssea - show stopped for a few minutes near the beginning due to a technical hitch - not as good as previous shows.

Dinner at China Jade chinese buffet on I Drive (next to Wild Jacks). Very Good.

Back to Seaworld. Feed the sealions, Seamore and Clyde parody Seaworld (very good), Shamu Rocks America (very good).

Thursday 3rd June - Islands of Adventure
Adventures of Spider Man is a simulator ride, 3d effects, etc - the best in any park. Everything happens so quickly you don't get a chance to catch your breath.
Didn't try any roller coasters apart from Unicorn in Lost Continent (I'll use the kids as an excuse).
There are still a lot of rides if you are not interested in roller coasters, but the wait times are prohibitive.
The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad is good (obviously not for the storyline) the pyrotechnics are very loud (young children might be frightened), and the water splashes will soak you if you are in the first seven or eight rows on the right side of the theatre, and a little soaked elsewhere on the first few rows - but you get a warning before the show starts.

Dinner at Wild Jack's - this time excellent.

Friday 4th June - Magic Kingdom
Character Breakfast at Chef Mickey's in Contemporary - Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale. Buffet not as good as Crystal Palace. Character interaction good, but again not as good as Crystal Palace.
Spend the morning at MK - round trip on WDW railroad, Big Thunder Railroad, Peter Pan's Flight.
Head for car.
Head for villa.
Head for airport via I4 (dodgems got nothing on this - especially going through Orlando section).
Niece spills large diet coke over my trousers - get some funny looks as I waddle round duty free.
Leave on time - bye Florida!

As usual good and bad, but unforgettable!

Last edited by Rannoch; 06-07-2004 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 06-07-2004, 03:19 AM   #2
Still here.....
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Thanks for sharing
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Old 06-07-2004, 01:52 PM   #3
It's a dirty job but someones gotta do it
Poor ghostbusters, no one goes to see them anymore
We stumbled upon Universal & now we love it
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Wow well done on posting so quickly thanks for sharing dd u try the mummy at universal and was it good

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Old 06-07-2004, 02:33 PM   #4
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 69

no mummy

I didn't get to see The Mummy as I was the only one wanting to go, and at the time had a 30 minutes line. I must admit to being a bit peeved.

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Old 06-08-2004, 09:18 AM   #5
You don't have to be Mad but it helps!
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on!
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Location: Essex
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sounds like you had a great trip. Read about the Mummy ride recently and it sounds very scary maybe you had a lucky escape

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Old 06-08-2004, 11:20 AM   #6
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 69


Last edited by KayleeUK; 06-09-2004 at 02:19 PM.
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