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3 Canucks Visit "The Other Side of Orlando": A Trip Report (Complete!)

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for still hanging in there, and continuing to read along!!! lol, I was not sure who was still following the report and who I had bored to tears by now ;) .

    I will keep my fingers crossed for you on a great rate on a night at one of the Universal Resort hotels. Sending a little pixie dust your way!!! :wizard:
     
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  3. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Welcome, and thanks for reading along!!! Nice to meet another mom who's a slave to her teenager's athletic pursuits :rotfl2: . We should start a support group!! (just kidding.....I wouldn't have it any other way :) )

    Glad to hear I'm able to give you some good ideas for your upcoming vacation. Book that trip, woman! Time's a wasting!! :rotfl:
     
  4. MouseGirl

    MouseGirl DIS Veteran

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    Fantastic trip report - just loving it. Thanks for sharing!!
     
  5. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much......glad you are enjoying my report!

    Hopefully more to come soon :goodvibes .
     
  6. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Friday, January 6th:

    Mother Nature smiled on our last full day of fun in Orlando with sunny skies (again!!), gorgeous warm temperatures, and barely a breeze in the air. It happened to be my amazing Mom's 69th birthday, so we called her from the hotel to wish her a happy day before heading out on the town. Found out she won a pizza from the local radio station's birthday contest :cool1: (I had submitted her name for the draw before we left :thumbsup2) so even though we were far away, she felt like we were thinking of her.

    First stop was to finish our vacation shopping at the Premium Outlets. The boy needed to stock up on sportswear from Nike, UnderArmour and Adidas, and I needed to pick up something nice from the Harley Davidson outlet for my biker-dude bro.

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    The deals were awesome! :woohoo: The selection was excellent as well. I love shopping in states for DH in particular....we can always find stuff for big and tall guys without it being a huge production. And cheap! We got him a couple of Nike shirts for $5 :worship:, and the Adidas merchandise was equally fabulously priced. Not sure if we were cashing in on the after-Christmas deals or if its always that good. We were just happy that we brought two empty carry-ons for our purchases, as we ended up jamming them full and putting more stuff in our regular suitcases.

    Sufficiently satisfied with our retail therapy, we headed for another round of mini golf.....this time at Hawaiian Rumble, just south of Sand Lake Road on I-Drive:

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    It was a lovely, picturesque and well maintained course. Some challenging holes that made for a good time by everyone involved! Not quite as polished as the Pirates Cove property, but a little more cost effective and still a feast for the eyes:

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    Of course, I lost badly to the boys (what else is new?? :rotfl:) but hey, it was still fun!

    Following our golf game, we grabbed some vittles at the Worlds Largest Checkers.

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    As I said before, I am a sucker for the "Worlds Largest" anything. I like the weird and wonderful (and cheesy :rolleyes1). Good food here, but OMG...the portion size was crazy. A "medium" drink was beyond enormous. I cannot imagine what human being could consume their extra large soft drink. Surely their stomach capacity must be larger than mine!

    Following lunch, we had another golf date...this time with some gators at Gator Adventure Park.

    Coming up......be mindful of the warnings: "the water has teeth"!
     
  7. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    So....following our monster sized meal at Checkers (for which I should have mentioned, had the most awesome fries ever)......we headed north on I-Drive to Gator Adventure Productions. I had pre-purchased a Groupon for this location and saved a bundle off regular prices! :banana: I love a great deal :love: . I seriously would love to be one of those crazy extreme couponers you see on TV .... those ladies rock! (though I must admit, they're a little nutty.....but then again, so am I :upsidedow ).

    At any rate....

    First thing we got to do was feed the gators. Each of us received a cup of gator food (which was not nearly as gross as I had feared....apparentlyl gators like cup up wieners).

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    On the end of the long stick, there was a bobby pin. Stick a piece on, drop it over the fence, and watch those gators go. They were all sunning themselves on the rocks, waiting for for us silly tourists:

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    Following our gator-feeding, we got to hold this little fellow and get some pics taken:

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    Unfortunately, the photos included with our Groupon were hard-copy ones (and not Photobucketable :sad2:) but they turned out well. Got one of the boy with a gator, one of the three of us together, and one of DH and I together, holding the little devil. He liked DH much better than Jaker and I. The poor lady kept telling me he could sense my fear. Um, yeah. I was holding an alligator and I type for a living. I feared for my fingers. And the rest of me, for that matter! :rotfl2: But it was a cool experience. And he was a cool little gator. And I mean that literally.....when they say cold blooded, they mean it!

    Next, a little gator golf!

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    I loved this sign. Just a reminder that if you happen to lose your ball somewhere along the course, please don't try to retrieve it.

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    If you do try and get it, you'll have to wrestle it from him:

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    I thought this was cute:

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    Lots to look at as we navigated the course.....gators everywhere, tanning themselves in the Florida sunshine:

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    We had a GREAT afternoon here......a neat, very "Florida-like" experience. And we got some fun pics before we departed:

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    After our shopping blitz, mini golf and the gator park, we decided to head back and chill for the rest of the afternoon and early evening. So we swam and tanned and soaked up the sun around the pool, enjoying all the peace and tranquility that a vacation should provide. Our time in Orlando was growing shorter.......soon, it would be time to pack the suitcases and head for home.

    We celebrated with a late evening dinner at TGI Fridays....'cause it was Friday, after all.

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    One of the best meals of our trip. From the broccoli and cheese soup, right on down!

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    Next up: our final day. Someone wake up the cat......we're heading home. :sad1:
     
  8. dsmom

    dsmom DIS Veteran

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    just finished reading your first five pages!! best trip report EVER!

    can't wait to read more. your family sounds wonderful!
     
  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much! :hug: What a huge compliment!

    My boys ARE an awesome pair. I am very blessed indeed.

    Unfortunately, photobucket has rained on my parade tonight, as I have apparently exceeded the allowable bandwith for the month :sad2:. Unless I upgrade to the higher version, there will be no more updates until after the 20th of the month. And with only one more post to go .... *sigh*.... :sad1:.
     
  10. mtmbyck

    mtmbyck I AM Canadian eh!

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    I'd love to see the final chapter on the 20th! I'll read it if you post it. Is there another place you can put pictures that will allow the bandwidth? I want to do a trip report here also in March.

    I especially love how diligent you were at finishing it.....I hate the posts on the trip boards that are still writing about their trip last June - LOL.
     
  11. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I despise the ones that leave me hanging, too.....lol, it is going to kill my OCD to have to wait to finish for another three weeks. :headache:

    You can be sure I'll be back on February 20th with bells on! For now, guess I'll have to busy myself with TripAdvisor reviews and scrapbooking.
     
  12. SharonK0527

    SharonK0527 Mouseketeer

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    Great TR Gina! I know you only have one post to go but I'll be back to read it :goodvibes

    Looks like you and your boys had a great vacation! Next time we go to Orlando (which will probably be later this year) we'll have to take some time away from the parks and do some fun things like you did. Thanks for the great ideas! We always seem to just go to the parks and hang out at the resort. I'd like to try some of the mini-golf places and things like that.

    Looking forward to your final day :goodvibes
     
  13. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much:goodvibes .

    I was just saying to my son this morning......18 more days and my TR will have the photos back! :banana:

    Yes, I am so pathetic.....! :rotfl2: I obviously need more excitement in my life.
     
  14. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I hate endings. I really do. I'm a planner.....I love the anticipation and excitement of the "before", and the fun derived from all the fruits of all my efforts in the "during", but the "end"? Blech. :sick: It's depressing. So we were totally bummed when our final morning of vacation arrived so seeminly darn soon.

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    Mother Nature wasn't going to let us be all down-in-the-dumps, though. It was a glorious January morning (and I mean GLORIOUS!...sunshine and high seventies!) , so what the heck were we doing inside? We had pretty much packed the suitcases the night before, so we tossed in the remaining few items and headed out to Jake's fave, Dunkin Donuts, for breakfast:

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    I love eating outside in January. We definitely can't do this at home!!! And yes, I had a donut for breakfast.......it was our last day, and I thought, what the heck? Sometimes you would be able to indulge and feel no guilt, right? :lmao:

    Our flight didn't leave until 2:50 p.m., so we had a few hours to fill before heading to the airport. We made one last stop at the Florida Mall for some last-minute shopping:

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    With the suitcases jammed full, we were en route to the airport.

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    Dropped off the car with all of two minutes to spare :scared1: (cut that a little close for my liking), then grabbed some fast-food for lunch before heading through security.

    Apparently lots of folks did some serious shopping on their trips, because there was a lot of luggage to be loaded on our plane!

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    While we waited to board, we spend time reminiscing about our favourite parts of the vacation, and musing about how angry the cat was going to be when we finally got home :rotfl2: . We were also able to find out that the weather in Syracuse was favourable, meaning our drive home should be uneventful and swift (barring any hold ups at the border).

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    The journey back was much smoother with no turbulence :thumbsup2, my TV worked this time :banana:, and we arrived back at the Syracuse airport ahead of schedule :cool1:. We picked up our luggage in no time flat, called the hotel to advise them we needed the shuttle, and were loaded into the van less than 10 minutes later. Awesome service from the Holiday Inn Express.

    We arrived home about 9 p.m., stopping only once along the way to grab a quick dinner at Cici's Pizza in Watertown.

    All the way home, we chatted about the fact that there were still things on our Orlando to-do list. Waterparks, Gatorland, an airboat ride, dinner shows, a trip to see the ocean.....there were still places we hadn't visited that someday we wanted to see. With a $15 credit from JetBlue burning a hole in my pocket, I quietly began my research for a summer trip, and voila! I found the deal the husband couldn't pass up. One week after returning from Orlando, we had an August trip booked and paid for.......and the planning process had begun again :banana:.

    The best cure for the post-vacation blues is another holiday. Bring on summer!!! :hippie:
     
  15. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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    Very fun trip report! Love reading about the "other side" of Disney!
     
  16. greenclan67

    greenclan67 Callie35

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    Great trip report!!! Loved it and thank you for finishing it!! You seem to do a lot of the things we do! Instead of mainstreaming and gravitating to huge parks all the time, we take our down time, (and love it) do some shopping, do Seaworld for half a day, as we have AP's, Discovery Cove is one of our favourites, as it so relaxing! We used to do just 7 or 8 nights, now we are doing more like 12 or 13 just to have to down time!! Glad you had such an awesome vacation, and another coming up soon!
    We leave in 18 days, my 2 girls are very excited, we only get to go once a year, but we always do a big summer vacation for a week as well, with some camping thrown in there to! Last summer Chicago, this summer we are heading to Myrtle Beach in August! So at least I have Florida right now, and will start with Myrtle when I get home!
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!!! :goodvibes

    It was a grand time, and we can't wait to go back. I see you are staying at the Royal Pacific in June......you must be getting so excited!!! Are Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on your do-visit list?
     
  18. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    I would *love* to get away for a more extended period, but alas, with our work schedules, my son's sports schedule, and our aging feline, usually 8 or 9 days is our max at one time. So that just means that we try to go a little more frequently :) . Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls is our summer camping trip :rotfl2: 'cause I'm not one for the "real" outdoors (I love :love: Niagara.....we try and get there every year, even if only for a few days).

    Myrtle Beach is on my bucket list, as is Chicago. We did a family vacation in Wisconsin Dells two summers ago, and passed through Chicago en route. Someday I also want to visit California. I hope I live a long time 'cause my bucket list still has an awful lot on it, lol. So far, Jake has managed to visit Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, BC, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan by the age of 16. I think its so important for kids to see different regions and experience all the world has to offer. That's why we try and get to so many different things on our Florida trips. We hate to limit ourselves to the same things over and over (not to say some places aren't worth visiting more than once.....just that we like to sprinkle in some new stuff with the old fave's!).

    My husband's family is from Holland. I would love to go there someday as well.

    If I ever win the lottery, I'd sell the house and travel the world, one country at a time. :thumbsup2

    Glad you enjoyed reading my TR....hope to see some reports of your travels after you return from your adventures. I hope you have an AMAZING time!!! :goodvibes
     
  19. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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    I am getting excited. Definitely doing Universal and IOA. I'm so much more excited about those two because they're new to us!
     
  20. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Awesome!!! :cool1:

    You will love the front of the line passes that you get with your Royal Pacific stay. They are heavenly :cloud9: . You will never look at a theme park the same again! And early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a MUST. Be sure to have a glass of Butterbeer for me!!!
     
  21. Pinkgirl

    Pinkgirl DIS Veteran

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    Brilliant trip report. I've been waiting soooo patiently (not) :rotfl2: I'm really looking forward to our week on I-Drive - its been nice to have a non-Disney report. Thank you.
     

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