We'll have joy, we'll have fun, we'll have Christmas in the sun...TR Complete!

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Disney Addicted

    Disney Addicted DIS Veteran

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    Is THAT what it is? I showed the photo to my husband last night, asking him what a "wamp" is. I never saw the "s".



    Yes, I would like to stay home for Christmas with our family. But I would love to skip all the present hula between hubby, the kids & I and instead arrange a trip for early spring. Ah well, one of these days. And I agree with sleep can come later. I made sure hubby, the kids & I were getting enough sleep & well rested a month before our Disney vacation as with my schedule - it was late to bed and up early in the morning! LOL
     
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  3. Disney Addicted

    Disney Addicted DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like you could tell a few stories! :eek: I think I would prefer my vacation experiences a bit quieter. :rolleyes1 ;)
     
  4. pooksma

    pooksma <font color=red>Can't help it~there is something a

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    I'm here and enjoying your report once more! :thumbsup2
     
  5. EastYorkDisneyFan

    EastYorkDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    I'm coming over to read this one too. Just have to remember to check in here every now and then to read about it.
     
  6. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Actually, we were talking about the Buffalo wings at the Anchor Bar (home to the original Buffalo wings, pigletto tells me :thumbsup2). We did eat at Buffalo Wild Wings in Orlando on our August trip, though, and the boys loved it. Me, well, I'm not really a wing girl. Give me a grilled chicken breast with a fork and knife any day over sloppy wings that get sauce all over my face (and shirt, and fingers, and............:rotfl:).

    Yay for your upcoming trip!!!!!!! I hope you guys have a great time and fabulous weather!!!

    We have taken a friend of Jake's on vacation several times, and we've always had a great time with them. It puts a different dynamic on things, for sure, but the friends have always been great and good sports about all the stuff we plan. I find the boys are almost always up for anything as long as they are well fed! :rotfl2:

    I seriously cannot wait to see that!!! :thumbsup2

    I don't mind at all!! Ask away!

    Breakfast was awesome. Daily there was 4 kinds of cold cereal, grits, oatmeal, 2 different kinds of muffins, bagels, toast, yogurt, mixed fruit (pineapple, melon, grapes), orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and 8 kinds of soda/pop. In addition to those items, there was a variety of hot items daily. One day was homefries and shredded cheese, scrambled eggs, buscuits, sausauge gravy, and sausage rounds. One day was the same except there was sausage rounds AND sliced ham. One day they had eggs, sausage, buscuits and gravy, and waffles. One day they substituted waffles for pancakes. One day they had hard boiled eggs instead of scrambled. The breakfast buffet was AWESOME and HUGE. The best included breakfast we've ever had. And the breakfast staff were super friendly. We never had a problem getting a place to sit, the area was super clean, and the buffet was always kept full.

    As for the Quick Queue passes, they are front-of-the-line passes for various rides at SeaWorld. They included the Polar Express, Manta, Kraken, the Sky Tower, Turtle Trek, Journey to Atlantis......I think that was all of them. There was literally a one hour wait posted for the Sky Tower and we walked on. Same with the coasters (Manta and Kraken). Once you have done SW with Quick Queue, its hard to do Disney with Fastpasses. QQ passes are worth $24.99 pp per day, so these are a GREAT inclusion.

    Location is excellent. Just off I-Drive on Westwood Blvd. Made it a quite location but seconds away from all restaurants and I-Drive fun. Minutes (like less than 5) from SW and Aquatica. There's a CVS Pharmacy on the corner.

    Not exactly sure how often the shuttle ran, as we never did take it, but I saw a list and there were a TON of times on it.

    The hotel has a Pizza Hut Express right onsite. More expensive than a regular Pizza Hut, of course, but the regular Pizza Hut will deliver to the hotel if you call (we did one night).

    lol, I am with you! ::yes:: Poor pigletto has had her fill of vacation excitement.

    Welcome to the party, pooksma! Glad to have you back! :banana:

    Welcome, welcome! Another reader, woot! :cool1:
     
  7. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    December 24th, 2012.......its Christmas Eve! But you would never know it. Oh my heavens, was Mother Nature being kind to us. Highs were forecasted to be in the low 20's, so we were elated that our plans to visit Aquatica were full speed ahead!

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    After a hearty breakfast at the hotel (the Residence Inn has a simply awesome breakky :thumbsup2), we were off and running. The park opened at 10 a.m., and we were there by 10:05. No problem parking, the lot was nearly empty. Apparently many folks don't visit the waterparks "in the winter".

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    In fact, this was about how "crowded" it was during most of the time we spent there:

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    It was heaven. Really, it was. After being there on a two hot days in August when lines were long and crowds were heavy, this was like paradise.

    First stop was to get our cabana. With our annual passholder discount, we snagged a cabana (booked prior to our trip) for $30. While we didn't expect to use or need it as much as we did in August, when it included towel rentals, a locker, and 12 bottles of water, it more than paid for itself.

    We had Uluwatu cabana #5:

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    After dumping our stuff in the cabana, it was into our suits and off to enjoy the park! :beach:

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    Dolphin plunge, which had between a 30 and 60 minute wait in the summer, was a walk-on.

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    But wait....ALL the rides were walk ons! :cool1: The boys literally did every slide in the park (some a couple of times) in the first hour we were there. All but the multi-person racing slide, as it was closed for refurbishment :sad: but the quick access to the rest of the slides more than made up for that one disappointment.

    Photobucket is being a pain.......so there's more photos to come! Stay tuned!
     
  8. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    So....where were we? Oh yes. The slides. Steve was shooting out of Dolphin Plunge.

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    Anyone need a tube for the next slide? There's no shortage today!

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    We had free all day dining at the Banana Beach Cookout as part of our vacation package, so we were able to snack and nibble between slides to our heart's content.

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    All in all, it was just a most amazing waterpark experience. Like having the park to ourselves for a private party. Here are an assortment of photos taken throughout the morning and early afternoon. I dare you to find a line, a crowd, or even a cluster of people.

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    By about 1:30 in the afternoon, I started to feel a little green around the gills and opted for a lay-down int he cabana. Soon afterward, the boys fell victim to the same thing :confused3 . By around 2:30, we opted to call it a day (the boys had done all the slides multiple times, we had floated around Roa's for numerous rotations, and we certainly didn't feel as if we missed out by not staying later.....though we would have, if the tummies weren't revolting). Before heading out, we shopped for some family members back home at the gift shop:

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    then headed for the parking lot. Within a few minutes, we were back at the hotel and the swimsuits were hung to dry.

    And then it happened. We hit the wall. :sick: And oh, lord, it wasn't nice.

    To this day, I don't know if it was something we ate. Or the effects of the sun. Or the accumulated excitement/exhaustion/overstimulation of the previous few days. Or maybe it was a flu bug? But the boys were SICK. And I was definitely not well either :sad2: .

    We had reservations for Santa's Fireside Feast that evening at SeaWorld that were prepaid and we were so excited for. We tried Gravol. It didn't help :headache: . With both guys over a bucket, I called SW at 4 pm to let them know we would not be coming (hoping that some other family of 3 might be able to take advantage of our cancellation to enjoy some holiday fun on an otherwise sold-out night, since this was the last time this dining event was being held for 2012). I was honest with the SW phone rep, and told them I knew that we were not entitled to our money back due to the late notice. She asked me to hold, then came back to say they would be refunding me the full amount due to the extenuating circumstances. We were so grateful and touched by their kindness.....just another reason why we love SW customer service :thumbsup2 .

    I wish I could say our Christmas Eve improved, but honestly....we crawled into bed and stayed there. We ordered pizza delivered (in case we recovered later that evening and needed food after most other places closed for the holiday), but it remained uneaten. Thank goodness for a full sized fridge. We were in bed to stay by 7 o'clock. Poor Jake and Steve (who very much had the worst of it) apologized profusely and repeatedly for de-railing our special plans for the evening. I told them there was no other place I would rather be on Christmas Eve than with my boys.......even if we were all in bed, sick as dogs.

    Another dose of Gravol for all, and it was lights out for this trio. Tomorrow was Christmas :santa:, and we desperately wanted to feel well enough to enjoy our planned day at SeaWorld. Thankfully, a good night's sleep appeared to be just what the doctor ordered, and the rest of the vacation was smooth sailing.

    The next update................Christmas Day with Shamu!
     
  9. 5mouseketeersforus

    5mouseketeersforus Mouseketeer

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    I am totally enjoying your report......that is until this last part where you are all sick on Christmas Eve!!!!! You poor things!! That is my biggest worry right now - trying to keep us all healthy for our trip and then praying we will all be ok while we are there.

    Waiting for the next chapter....... :)
     
  10. BearcatsFan

    BearcatsFan <font color=green>we finally had a minute to breat

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    Oh Gina! I'm so sorry to hear you were all sick on Christmas Eve! That stinks! :crazy2:

    Love all the photos - Aquatica looks like fun ... definitely deserted! :thumbsup2

    I have a question. I haven't read your other TRs ... do you always stay at SW as opposed to WDW? I love the look of the Residence Inn. ::yes::
     
  11. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    WOW!! That is one empty park. I know where I'm going if we ever do a Christmas trip!!:eek: That must have been wonderful!!!

    And I'm sorry to hear you got sick. So easy to pick up a 24hr bug when you are contact with so many people in airports or planes. And it sure was that time of year. We avoided it but knew a lot of people sick over Christmas.

    I'm glad it was over quickly for you. You have me interested in Seaworld now! I am not a big waterpark person but would happily read a book in that Cabana. DH and ds LIVE for waterslides. Dd and I are creatures of comfort:rotfl:
     
  12. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the kind comments!!! :goodvibes

    Winter is a hard time to avoid the cold and flu bugs. Jake had battled a horrible viral infection in the weeks leading up to our trip. We wondered if that would sideline Steve and I by the time we travelled, but we managed (somehow) to evade it. We are SO grateful that whatever caused our issues on Christmas Eve were short-lived.......we managed to get a good day in before it hit, so it really only curtailed our evening plans. While we were still profoundly disappointed (we missed out on dinner with Santa and Mrs. Claus :sad1:......how could that not have made us sad?) it could have been so very much worse.
     
  13. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    We stayed onsite for our first Orlando trip.....at Port Orleans Riverside. Loved it. Loved Disney.

    Our second trip, we stayed at the Hawthorn Suites Universal, just off I-Drive. That's the trip we fell in love with the SeaWorld parks.

    Our third trip, we stayed at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa. Loved it there too........adored having so much space (we had a 2 bed/2 bath villa) and the resort amenities.

    This trip, we wanted to stay onsite at SW because we knew it would be busy and wanted to be (a) in close proximity to SW and (b) get all the great benefits of staying at an onsite hotel (like Quick Queue). We picked the Residence Inn because we simply must have a one bedroom suite......DH is a snorer and DS is a sleeper :rotfl:. Having a separate bedroom means each one remains a happy boy and I don't have to wring anyone's neck ;) .

    The cabanas are wonderful ......... sooooooooo nice. So peaceful. They are in their own separate area so you can really get away from all the hullaballoo of the park. Definitely a fine place for some book reading (and we have been known to catch a satisfying snooze or two in them before :rolleyes1 .... love those afternoon siestas!).

    I bet you would love Roa's Rapids. Very much a great attraction for non-sliders like you and your DD (and me......not a slide girl here either). And the lazy river. Oh yes, I could stay on that one for hours! :beach:
     
  14. butterflies114

    butterflies114 Earning My Ears

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    Hi - I am new to your trip reports but I look forward to following along. We fly out of buffalo and always stay at the Days Inn, my kids love the pool and my husband loves the Tim Hortons.

    It really sucks to be sick on vacation our 4 year old had a 3 day fever on our last vacation and it just stinked!
     
  15. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Welcome aboard!!!

    Aw, your poor little one.....that's hard on everyone to have a member of the family sick for so long when you are trying to have fun :worried: . That is why we were so grateful that things were back on track the next day....it could have lasted so much longer (don't get me wrong, we had irritable stomachs on and off for many days.....but it was manageable, for the most part, if we kept our gluttony in check).

    I hope to add another chapter later this evening. Thanks for reading along!
     
  16. greenclan67

    greenclan67 Callie35

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    I was reading along when I was reading about how you got sick, I was like, oh no, she got that crappy Ontario flu that is floating (very quickly) around.My family of 4 were so sick before Xmas, it took us a week to actually eat something besides soups, crackers and bland. It hit 3 of us one night like a ton of bricks, and we were up all night. My hubby started the next night. We had one broken toilet, thank goodness for two bathrooms. I run daycare out of my home. It hit every single one of them and then started taking out the parents. Thankfully I was feeling a bit better by this point and time, the parents stayed home and I took their kids. I have all teachers as clients, and I wiped them all out, and was to blame for them taking all of the sick days! LOL Put it this way, I have thrown out a rocking chair, and shampooed my carpets twice and some furniture a few times. And it wasn't my kids because they made it to the bathroom every time. So I can just imagine what that was like on vacation, all I could think, was thank goodness we have it now, and not at Christmas. Glad you were able to keep going.
     
  17. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Wow.......you guys had a tough time of it!!! I am glad that you were able to get your feet back under you in time for the holiday season.
     
  18. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Christmas Day 2012 :banana: .

    This day will probably be summarized in several updates, as it was a big, wonderful day with lots crammed in.

    We rose after 12 hours of sleep and were very much relieved to feel much better than the day prior. Not 100%, but definitely improved and very much well enough for our planned day at SeaWorld.

    We would be using our all day dining (free with our vacation package) for today's meals, from breakfast right on through to dinner. No need to stop and enjoy the Residence Inn's buffet today, so we were showed and dressed and down to the lobby in no time.

    We always get Christmas morning photos, and this holiday was no exception (even though it wasn't our "traditional" Christmas at home). We got some fun pictures with the giant nutcrackers in the lobby:

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    and also a few outside amidst the beautiful Florida scenery. The weather was perfect...shorts and t's weather....with a mix of cloud and sun forecasted for the day. What an awesome day for themeparking!

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    With the obligatory photos out of the way, we were off to SeaWorld. The plan had been to arrive before opening, and we did :cool1: .

    Sliding into the parking lot at about 8:20, we waited 10 minutes for the parking to actually open (which it did at prompty 8:30 am). There were several other cars there waiting with us, so obviously other families had the same idea we did! While we waited to enter the parking area, Steve and Jake got out of the truck and chatted with a family from Quebec who was in the line immediately in front of us. We compared snow updates from our relatives back home. :lmao:

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    Within a few minutes, we were on our way to park the truck. Love, love, LOVE how empty the lot was........'cause we got one rockin' awesome space right by the park entrance.

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    We were through bag check in a flash (with our dining included, we travelled lightly this day, bringing only some souvenir cash, our camera, a comb, and some lipgloss) and into the park just after the national anthem played. We went directly to redeem our free Quick Queue vouchers at Guest Services, then were off to the races.

    (And yes, those photographers corralled us on our way into the park for the first of many of today's photos. But who can resist a Shamu picture anyway??)

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    We're just getting started........tons more Christmas Day updates to come! popcorn::
     
  19. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    The park was decorated beautifully. The large tree at the entrance was as spectacular as we remembered it from our New Years trip, but held so much more "magic" on Christmas Day.

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    We were thrilled at the crowd levels on opening. We weren't sure if we should expect mobs of people waiting to stampede the park at the 9 am opening time, but whatever worries we had were for naught. Not a mob nor crowd to speak of.

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    We decided to hit Voyageurs Smokehouse for breakfast, but of course, had to snag a ride on Manta on our way there.

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    This ride is the boys' favourite in all of Orlando. They cannot get enough of it. They'd give it more than two thumbs up, if they had any extra thumbs:

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    Breakfast at Voyageurs was excellent, and the guys were full enough when we left that they were glad they had ridden Manta first, otherwise it may have had to wait until their morning meal settled :) . We had no problem getting a seat, and line-ups to be served were minimal.

    After breakfast, we embarked on our quest to hit as many attractions as possible throughout the day. I can't tell you the exact order of what we did (funny how some aspects of your vacation disappear from the brain after you get home :confused3) but I know Polar Express was one of our morning attractions. As we missed out on this attraction at New Years (it had closed for the season on January 1st, and we visited on the 2nd and 5th), I was very, VERY excited to ride!

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  20. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    Let me say this........SeaWorld did a fantastic job with the theming at this attraction. It was awesome. :thumbsup2

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    We opted for the motion side. The ride started with a clip from the movie:

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    then we were seated and off for our ride on the Polar Express! Despite being a ride chicken, I really didn't mind this one. It did move you around quite a bit, so it was great that there's a non-motion option for those that can't handle the movement. The ride itself lasted about 8 minutes.

    After the ride was over, we exited into the North Pole, and were greeted by one of the most majestic Christmas trees you've ever seen.

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    We went directly to the area to meet Santa (because we really are just a bunch of big kids!) and again.....no line!

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    We spent lots of time admiring the animals here. The HUGE walrus was a great source of entertainment, as were the beluga whales and this fellow, who decided to sleep in this Christmas Day:

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    They had a wonderful hot chocolate stand at a very reasonable $1.99 per cup, if you need to warm up after your visit to the North Pole.

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    And of course, there's a giant rendition of that infamous ticket as you exit the attraction:

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    This holiday attraction definitely did not disappoint. Right down to the smell of train exhaust, SW outdid themselves on theming of this ride.

    Next up...........photos in a snow globe? Oh, yes we did!
     
  21. BearcatsFan

    BearcatsFan <font color=green>we finally had a minute to breat

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    SW looks beautiful at Christmastime! How funny you ran into some fellow Canadians in the parking lot - comparing snow updates! :lmao: That cracked me up!

    I *love* the photos you had done there. By chance, do you have any idea how early they start decorating for the holidays? Our next trip will be in mid-November, and after seeing your photos, I'm considering adding SW to our list of possibilities ... :scratchin

    Carry on! popcorn::
     

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