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. timbitkid

    timbitkid Earning My Ears

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    Gina your report was excellent, it almost made me feel like i was there and part of the family as well. We are planning a trip in another year or two. Makes me kinda hesitant tho. The first time we were down there we missed a huge hurricane by 10 days and the day we left they started mandatory evacuations for another one. In fact our plane was the last plane to leave Orlando that day and when we went down in Dec 2010 they said it was the record low temperature in 26 years. I have a question or 2 for you. I am sure I read it somewhere but how did you book your trip with Hawthorn, thru wyndam website or call the hotel directly? We are planning on doing a Disney/ Universal trip with a few extras. Do you have any other tips that could help us out. Thanks again for the great report I really enjoyed it.
     
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  3. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much for your kind comments! :goodvibes

    After dodging two hurricanes and some frosty temps, maybe your next trip would be the "perfect weather" vacation! :thumbsup2 lol, one person can only have so much bad timing, right? ;)

    For our trip, we booked our flight and hotel together through Expedia.ca. Rates were awesome and everything went smooth as could be. I would not hesitate to book through Expedia again (though our next getaway has been booked direct with both the airline and the resort....I'm all for going whatever way gets me the best price).

    Other tips?? Sign up for Groupon and Livingsocial....they often offer some great deals on Orlando attractions. Consider Express Passes for your Universal visit (either via an onsite stay, where the Express Passes are included with your room rate, or by a stand-alone purchase). And take lots of pictures :wizard: . 'Cause when all is said and done, then you've got some great memories to last forever!
     
  4. Disney_Mama

    Disney_Mama DIS Veteran

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    Loved your trip report.:thumbsup2
    Nice to read a non Disney report for a change.
     
  5. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Disney Mama! It was fun to have the chance to share our adventures with other Disers!
     
  6. DreamlikeCat

    DreamlikeCat We are a process.

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    Thoroughly enjoyed your post! We're heading to Florida from Winnipeg in May for 7 nights. We're driving across the border as well and flying there from the US. We have Disney world (just MK, AK and HS), Seaworld, IOA, Kennedy Space Center and Jungle Adventures on the menu. Possibly squeeze in a trip to Cocoa Beach and an airboat ride if we can. :)

    You mentioned your DH's family is from Holland so I had to mention that my DH is from Holland too - he moved here to Canada almost 13 years ago. So we've got a Europe trip planned down the road as well.

    Anyway, as I said, great job - pics were awesome and I loved the commentary. :thumbsup2
     
  7. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    You have a very busy trip planned for May!!! Sounds like fun :thumbsup2 (you should all sleep well on the plane on the way home!! :) )

    We, too, hope to make the trip to Holland someday to visit the town where my husband's mother was born, and where his paternal grandparents immigrated from. My hope is that we will go when our son graduates from college or university as a celebration of his transition to adulthood and independence. My husband still has extended family there, and I think it would be wonderful for our son to meet them. By then, he'd be old enough to truly appreciate the cultural differences and be able to do some exploring on his own as well. I have seen many, many photos and its a beautiful country. I want to be there when the fields of tulips are in bloom :cloud9: .
     
  8. mjplantz

    mjplantz Always something to plan...

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    Really enjoyed the report as our trip in November will be similar yo yours with one day added for Magic Kingdom. Loved to see DC since we are going for the first time and SW is always a good time as well. We have been trying to figure out which mini golf to go to so we are thinking maybe the Gators may have it. Also fun to see the pictures of Northern NY as that is my hometown area. Looking forward to the next report...
     
  9. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! :goodvibes

    Be sure to keep an eye on Groupon for the Gator Golf passes. I have seen them offered at least twice in 2012, so hopefully they will come up again before your travel date.

    You will *love* Discovery Cove! We had such a good time that we have added a DC day to our August trip. Gets me all excited just thinking about it !!! :hyper:
     
  10. steves1019

    steves1019 Mouseketeer

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    Gina awesome trip report! Thanks so much for posting to my thread and suggesting to read your report! Pure gold! I'll be taking many of your suggestions.
     
  11. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for reading!! :goodvibes I am glad you found my TR helpful. Have an awesome trip, and may Mother Nature smile on your vacation with warm and sunny weather! :) January will be here before you know it!
     
  12. candielips

    candielips DIS Veteran

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    I just read through your TR and you did a great job!!!!

    Thank you for showing all of the fun things you can do in Orlando other than WDW. Since we have young kids, DD5 and DS2, we have only done WDW with them but cannot wait until they are older and we can head to other parts of Florida!

    Are you planning on doing another TR for your trip this month?
     
  13. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you :goodvibes . There really is sooo much to do in Orlando. Disney is just one of the many great places to visit!

    I hope to do another TR once we return home, assuming I am not too swamped at work. Sharing some of our good memories with my disboard friends is almost as fun as living them the first time! :)
     
  14. candielips

    candielips DIS Veteran

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    :goodvibes
     
  15. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report!

    I'm hoping to be able to go to Disney this coming January, but we'll likely be getting Armed Forces Salute tickets (only 4 days) so I want to plan some time outside of Disney. I don't think I could do a trip to Orlando without Disney, but my son is 2, not 16!

    I'm thinking Discovery Cove, SeaWorld, and Universal to fill in some of the days. Your trip report really helped! We might pop in to a Disney water park and DisneyQuest as well as we get to pick between having Park Hoppers or Water Parks & More on our tickets.
     
  16. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Universal, IMHO, would be a disappointment when travelling with such a little fellow. Unlike Disney, Universal tends to cater to the thrill seekers more than the wee guests. Besides Seuss Landing at IOA, the character meets, and (I think) a play area in Jurassic Park, there would be very little for your son to take part in.

    Here's an idea for you, though......right now, if you purchase your Discovery Cove admission, you get 14 days of free admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica. Then you could choose Park Hoppers for your add-on to your Disney tickets rather than the Water Park & More (unless you are super-stuck on Disney Quest). Definitely a good deal, particularly if you don't do the dolphin swim at DC (the day resort admission is much cheaper and still includes the free SeaWorld and Aquatica....and your little guy is too young for the swim, as you must be minimum 6).

    I wish I had had the financial resources when my DS was 2 to take him to Disney. He would have loved it then (heck, he loved it for the first time at 13!!! :goodvibes). So much fun to enjoy those special good times with our kiddos!
     
  17. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your input! My biggest draw to Universal is the Harry Potter theming, which I'll be able to enjoy the same from the ground with my little boy. I'm sure we'll get back at some point, but this would give us a nice taste. We could always take turns riding. Obviously more fun with a riding partner, but not no fun without.
    Discovery Cove is definitely high in the running. I also like the idea that we could take turns watching the child, while the other participated in the Dolphin swim without leaving the same general area. I've looked into the dolphin interaction at Disney, but there are limited times, so we would likely have to do them on separate days entirely. I'm almost frustrated that SeaWorld and Aquatica are included, because that gives me more "inclusions" to fit in.
    I don't think there's a perfect solution, but I know that we'll make it back in the future, so I can skip some stuff now. I've simply been away from Disney too long (almost 2 years).

    I'm still in the very beginnings of the planning process (DH still hasn't agreed to anything, since we don't even know where we're going to live in January). It will depend the most on the length of our stay. Right now, I'm looking at around 10 nights, and with only 4 main park days, we'll need some fillers, even if I actually fit in a couple park-free days. Since the military tickets are so inexpensive (and they could stop offering them at any time) especially when coupled with the related room discount, and we don't have to pay for DS anywhere yet, this is a decent time for us to waste a little bit of time.
     
  18. mjplantz

    mjplantz Always something to plan...

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    Love the trip report... we are doing Discovery Cove for the first time this trip along with SeaWorld and Aquatica so your photos really got us even more excited for the trip. Minimal Disney time this year for us.

    I grew up in Watertown and worked at the Carousel Mall for a bit so that sure brings back the memories. We were just in Watertown for graduation this year. Last NY trip for a while I'm sure for us.

    Thanks for putting it together.
     
  19. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for reading along :goodvibes . Have a GREAT time on your DC, SeaWorld and Aquatica trip! I don't think you'll be disappointed....we loved it so much in January, we're booked onsite at SeaWorld for Christmas this year.
     
  20. hcoker1

    hcoker1 Mouseketeer

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    Gina: I don't know how I missed your TR in January but just found it. Thanks for sharing, great photos! I'm looking forward to reading your August TR once you return.
     
  21. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    For little ones: at Universal there is an entire play area with interactive water play and a Barney area. At IOA, there is the Seuss area rides, a Jurassic Park play area, a Popeye Me Ship the Olive play boat, and a Seuss playground. Child swap works well as you keep your child with you in line and the swap is done right at loading.
     

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