A few reminders: Pre Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2200291 Journey/Arrival -http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2218360 Day 1 -http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2219427 Day 2 - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2220560 Day 3 -http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2221563 Day 4 -http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2224079 The Cast: Me- Pete (27) Last WDW Trip Nov 07, with plenty of DLRP in between. Jo (29) The second veteran from our Nov 07 trip, has also been to DLRP ten times in the last eight years Kathryn (21) WDW Virgin, mad on Princesses, Alice in wonderland & Mary Poppins Paul (21) Known as Kip, just along for the ride and cocktails if you ask me Amy (23) Younger sister of Chris is over there working ,massive Princess and Tink fan. But she does hate all things HSM, so we may clash, eek! Supporting Cast Chris (25) On his year working in the Rose & Crown in Epcot Kayleigh (23) see above These two have proved very useful in the holiday planning / dining reservation department!!! -------------------------------------------------------------- Day 5. So after a very long painful rise for the group, we proceeded to milk the last of our time in the rooms, taking our times to shower and enjoy lots of fluid as we tried to ignore the fact that we were all very hungover. So eventually we were off and out. Leaving all our bags wed bought with us with reception as today was the day we had put aside to do the Universal parks. The only problem I forsaw here, was that hangovers + theme parks rarely provide a good combination. So in an effort to put a lid on the hangover situations we decided to dive into the hotels restaurant before we left for some breakfast. The Kitchen as it was called was busy, but still serving breakfast. The eight of us were seated in 2 groups of 4 in 2 booths next to each other. And after a long wait, our waiter came to us. When we told him we werent looking to order from the menu, he was clearly unhappy and set about trying to persuade us to order from the buffet as Anything we ordered would take about 25 minutes. We told him this was fine as we though 25 minutes was acceptable. 40 minutes later breakfast was yet to arrive and we were starting to worry, as we still needed to manage our time in the Universal parks and then make our ADR in the Magic Kingdom tonight. After a while and some enquiries with the staff on our behalf by Matt our food finally arrived. I cant say much about as we were now so worried about time, I dont think any of the group took the time to taste it as we ate. It looked lovely though! Our waiter was clearly not that interested in us, and by the time we finally managed to get our bill it was incorrect. Again we waited trying to get a correct bill, and this time Matt spoke to the duty manager, who seemed equally unhelpful. From this point we left it with Matt, Chris and Kayles who were more experienced with Customer service and how it works in the US ( it really is a different animal, to its UK counterpart) and waited outside. I dont know precisely what went down as Id walked on ahead of the group, but I do know it wasnt pretty, and Matt lost his temper with them Eeeek! So with everyone safely evacuated from the restaurant. We repeated last nights walk to City Walk, this time sampling it sober. It was nice, and decided to go to Universal Studios first. This was another opportunity to highlight the stark differences between Disney and its competitors. As a rather unhelpful lady served us at the ticket booths, as we tried to take advantage of the one free guest ticket available to Matt and Kayles who held Annual Passes. Eventually though success was found and we entered the park. Our first port of call was The Mummy, which I had managed to somehow forget how enjoyable it was, and definitely longer than I could remember! Although on such a hot day, we could certainly have done without all the flame effects. Moving through the park we went on Jaws next, which is fairly dated now. But going on it when visiting here is standard practice right? After that we went on the Simspons Ride. Im still at this point now not even sure if I liked it or not? After stopping for some frozen soft drinks, we went on MIB, ET and the Shrek show in fairly quick succession before heading out of the park and along the other side of City Walk down to Islands of Adventure. I wont go blow by blow through what we went on at IOA, but it was more or less all the big rides, with the exception of Dr Dooms freefall towers?? And the log flume as it wasnt functioning today. We enjoyed ourselves here, but with the unbearable heat and the fact we were all somewhat hungover. By the time we got here we were already flagging, and even stopping for lunch didnt really manage to booster the groups spirits. I think the only reason we managed so many rides was the fact that we had our Hotel Xpress passes, which got us to the front of every queue very quickly. I cant praise this system enough. A definite plus for Universal Resort hotel guests. And even quicker and easier to use than Disneys Fast Pass. Eventually though, being rather wary of the time and having enough time to freshen up and relax before we hit MK later. We headed back to HRH to collect our belongings and catch another God Fearing cab back to ASM. With two and a bit hours to spare back at the hotel, Amy and I took the time to update our journals we were keeping, whilst the others channel surfed. Eventually though we were washed, rested and reclothed, and on the bus back to MK for our ADR at Cinderellas Royal table Naturally, the others were seated, but I was standing. We met the 3 locals at the turnstiles and made our way in. Spectromagic had just started but there was nowhere to watch it so we considered the option of watching it later, and made our way down the park, avoiding the masses where we could. We had a while to spare till our reservation, so much to the disgust of various members of the group we went on Its A Small World. But its gotta be done! We decided it was close enough to our booking time now and made our way round to the back of the Castle, we were a little worried at first when we saw it all cordoned off from a distance, for Wishes. But a polite CM happily asked us to just wait for a few minutes, and then took us across and up to the Castle. After a spot of confusion over the booking, as Chris couldnt at all remember what name hed booked it in (hed booked in Matts surname Nixon so from this point on, we were the Nixon family) we were ushered into the small downstairs antechamber for our picture with Cinderella herself. And a brief wait with some other families before our name was called and we ascended to the main dining room in the chamber above. There were two options to go up, a lift, or an ornate looking wooden spiral staircase. We went with the stairs. Us and Cinders Upstairs the room was smaller than I thought, but large enough for the purpose it served. It was all very woodeny and castle-ish I guess, which is no doubt what they wanted, and as expected most tables were occupied, or awaiting new occupants. We were shown to our table where we were all presented with swords for the boys, and wands for the girls. And our goblets were filled with our first drinks while we chose what we wanted from the menu. The girls and their wands Our Goblets of drink We didnt have to wait long and we were all tucking into our starters, with the majority of us going for the rather yummy BLT salad in a Roasted Shallot vinaigrette, but Matt and Kathryn going for the Crab and Corn Soup. Matt with his Corn & Crab soup Soon we were onto the main course which was a bit of a varied mix for all, but I know I went for the Roast Lamb Chops with roasted Fingerling potatoes, vegetable ragout, and drizzled with a herb pesto. Which was nice, but to be honest there wasnt a lot on the menu that I really wanted, so even this I didnt enjoy as such, but was the closest to what I might have wanted. Half way through dinner, the Fairy Godmother came out accompanied by her two mice, Perla & Suzette?? To tell a little story and perform Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo. And then perform some magic for us, which was actually to make the lights turn down, and some fairy lights to twinkle around the room. After she had finished, which was about ten minutes in total. We carried on eating and Wishes began. Obviously being inside the castle we couldnt really see much apart from the odd firework or two that went off from the roofs of the buildings alongside the castle. But they did play the soundtrack for us. Dessert was served, and we all enjoyed something I cant now remember the name of, but it was something like a chocolate cream buckle? But it was very sweet. I couldnt have managed more than one. Once wed rested and all allowed our dinner to go down, we settled our bill and slowly made our way out, posing for lots of random pics as we went. Just so we could show off, as not that many people actually get inside the castle do they? By the time we got out Spectromagic was now in full swing and just coming past the front of the castle, but we didnt want to just see half of the show. So decided wed come back to watch it in full another night, perhaps a night we could watch Wishes too, as so far we had only seen it from restaurants, and it would be good to see it from the perspective its designed for. Following usual routine we returned to bus stop and happily made our way back to ASM. After such a full day, we were all more than a little cream-crackered!