A Great High School Graduation Vacation Trip Report 6/19 ! :)

bobbie68

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
:wave: and thanks for reading along with my trip report. This is my first time doing one for the Sea World/Bush Garden parks. We usually go to Universal but tried something different this year. It was my DD's high school graduation trip and we let her pick which parks she wanted to do. She chose Discovery Cover so we decided to spend the little extra to upgrade to get access to the other parks.

The preplanning of the trip. We usually stay at on-site resorts for perks and convenience. This was more of a budget trip so I decided to look off-site. With the help of Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina with a recommendation, we chose Sheraton Vistana Resort in Lake Buena Vista. In September I went on the site and they were running a 25%off fall special. I booked 7 days at a great price. It was almost half of what we pay on site. We booked a 2 BR villa that sleeps 8. I put a deposit and that was it. Next was waiting for Thanksgiving weekend for Discovery Cove. I had heard they run a blue Friday special and indeed they did. I was able to get the dolphin swim added to our package for $5.00:eek::woohoo:I couldn't believe it I must have asked twice if this was correct. On top of that, they were giving an upgrade to the three other parks for free. I jumped on that considering we were not going to be able to do it financially at that point. I was so thrilled knowing I could give my DD exactly what she wanted:goodvibes I wanted to do the elite package (photo package, cabana, tote, and towel) but not sure if we could budget for it, so I had to wait. We decided to drive again this year so I just had to plan our drive and book overnight hotel. We find it too much to drive straight through. My DH and I made our plan and then I reserved my hotel.
Everything went smooth now I just have to wait:thumbsup2

Introductions DH Brian (44) DD liv(17) DD's BF Charlie (17) me Roberta (51). For those of you have not read one of my trip reports on the Universal thread DD's BF lives with me due to some poor living conditions in his life. He is a great person and we think of him as a son.

We added a couple of other activities to this trip and it worked out great. We were going to meet Brian's family for dinner in Tampa after Bush Gardens, we were going to visit my brother staying at The Grand Floridian, and the most important add on was to start looking at areas to live. We are planning on moving down there next summer. This was going to be an awesome trip and a little different than we usually do but exciting none the less.

It begins on June 22nd:car: we left CT about 6 am, our goal was to drive to Savannah Georgia for the night. This was going to be about a 15-hour drive with only a couple of stops but didn't include traffic. I started out the drive and then Brian took over in New Jersey. Overall we had a great trip down hit some traffic and took a few more stops. We ended up getting to the hotel at about 11 pm. It was a long day and we were ready to sleep. We stayed at aLa Quinta right off 95 and it was clean and the staff was nice. We checked in and we were all in bed by 1 am after showers. We were planning on being on the road by 8 -9 am. We had about 4 hours until we entered the Orlando area and were going to look at neighborhoods. The goal was to look at 3 neighborhoods then be at the Vistana by 4 to check-in.

June 23rd We were up on time had the complimentary breakfast and then was on our way. We do take a portable fridge in the car, for certain special dietary needs so we do have to bring that in every night. We were off, we hit no traffic and was in the first neighborhood by 1. The first 2 we looked at didn't look good for us so we went to the third. We spent a lot of time in the third neighborhood and have added that as one of the possibilities. It had almost everything we were looking for.
After an open house and some exploring, we ended up heading to the Vistana about 4 30.

We arrive at Vistana :cool1: and boy was this place big. We drove up to the front and I went into check-in. It was really quick it was not crowded at all. They did offer me 2 vouchers for breakfast for 4 days if I decline housekeeping. The breakfast is about 25 per person and it wouldn't cover the other2 so I declined and took housekeeping. After I got my keys and location they sent me over to the desk to get my parking pass. This is also the desk that asks you to do the timeshare presentation. I declined it and they didn't say anything else and I was off. I had requested a top floor close to everything. I didn't get any of my requests. We got the 4th floor in a 5-floor building and we were in the back of the property. The building was Lakes 7. At first, I was disappointed but decided it would be okay. We went in to check it out. I told the teens don't unpack till I make sure it is good for us to stay. As I was checking I noticed the spa tub in the Master Bedroom wasn't working so I called the front desk. I had a maintenance man there in 15 minutes and he fixed it right away. Everything else looked good so we unpacked a bit then headed to dinner. We were planning on a pool night but that wouldn' happen. I suggested going to Sweet Tomatoes on a recommendation. We decided to try it. It is a healthier type of food. There is a nice salad bar with everything you can think of. You go through this line first, then pay. The only problem was there are stations for soups and pastas so if you don't know that you load up on the salad. I think they could explain it when you walk in. Otherwise, the food was great. The soups were a big hit. They are all made from scratch. They do have a cute dessert bar as well. We had a coupon and it was 11.99 for the meal and a drink. This is all you can eat also. I think it is a great deal and a good choice if you are looking for some healthier options. After dinner, we went back to the resort and decided to relax. We would have an early day at Aquatica.
Pics of our room:
vistanakit.jpgvistanalr.jpg
vistanatub.jpgvistanabr.jpg

Off the kitchen was the other bedroom and bathroom. It was great for the teens to have their own space. The furniture was comfortable, all the accessories were good in the kitchen. There is a screened-in balcony off the living room and master bedroom. There is a table and 4 chairs. The washer and dryer are in a closet when you come in. This feature was awesome. It was so nice to not have so much dirty laundry to take home.

June 24th Aquatica Day

We planned to be up early and go there for the opening. I wanted to save some money so I went to Publix and bought breakfast bowls for the park mornings. It was a quick inexpensive way to fuel up. We got to the entrance about 8 15 and they let us into the park about 8 30. We were the first car in and got a great spot. We waited for a bit then got through security. We were at the front of one of the turnstiles. I told Brian Liv and I would go through first and go to guest services. For anybody who doesn't know the Sea World parks are Autism certified now. There are some really good additions with this. All the ride descriptions have sensory notes. They also offer a pass like the other parks where you can get a time to come back so you don't have to wait in line. This is the first water park that we have been able to do this. It was such a big help and made the day good. Everything went quick and we were on our first ride shortly after 9. We got a nice seat in the wave pool area under an umbrella.
There were no lines so we went right to KareKare Curl their newest ride, it was really fun, it is only a 2 person though. We split up the teens together. We did Omaka Raka with the 4 of us and that was really fun. We took a break and went to Roas Rapids. We love these rivers that are a little fast. We stayed here for a while then went over to Ray Rush. There were still not many lines and we were able to get on. This was one of our favorite family raft rides. After we went to lunch at Waterstone Grill. It was a little after 11 and the line was already long. We waited, and Brian and I ordered the fish tacos and the kids had veggies burgers. Everything was good and we bought the refillable cups. We did not choose the all-day dining. I had read reviews that it wasn't worth it in this park. I will say I am glad I didn't. The food lines were so long, we would have spent half the day doing that. We would leave early and grab dinner out by the resort. We repeated a couple of the slides and spent most of the day in the rapids river and the wave pool. Liv wasn't feeling good so we wanted to take it easy. At one point in the wave pool in the afternoon, the temp said 101 degrees. We showered and changed then left about 4. We thoroughly enjoyed Aquatica, It is a great waterpark even though it is smaller than some others we have been too. The Roas Rapids and Ray Rush were our favorite. We will be getting passes here next year.
We stopped back by the resort then decided to try the Ale House in Lake Buena Vista. A friend on the boards (Schumigirl) recommended this chain in her report and it didn't disappoint. They have about 6 early bird choices to choose from. It was only $8.99 for dinner. Brian had ribs and sides and the three of us had a sirloin with sides. We did get some wings for an appetizer and they were some of the best I have had. When we were done with our meal the consensus was everyone wanted to eat here again. We went back to the resort and decided to try some pool time.
The resort has 7 pools and several hot tubs. We decided to use the fountains pool. It was a couple of buildings down but is was one of the three large pools. It was very nice. There was a volleyball net, a little waterfall, and had two hot tubs secluded in the back. We stayed for a few hours and had a blast. I spent most of my time in the hot tub. The other three played a lot of volleyball and frisbee. They did join me for a bit. We headed back about 10. We would have another early day as we were going to Tampa and Bush Gardens.
Up next Bush Gardens Tampa!!!!
 

Gr8t Fan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Great start. We just got back from a graduation trip to WDW for our youngest daughter (and our last trip on our WDW APs).

I dream of moving to FL one day, so I'm anxious to hear how that turned out. And, we're probably going to get APs for SeaWorld at their next Blue Friday sale.
 
  • Lynne G

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2009
    Thanks so much for this Trip Report. Enjoyed reading it. And woot! For the all the savings you found to make so much fun for the trip for your family.
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    I’m in for the read

    Awesome trip report start!
    Thanks Mac glad to have you along :goodvibes

    Great start. We just got back from a graduation trip to WDW for our youngest daughter (and our last trip on our WDW APs).

    I dream of moving to FL one day, so I'm anxious to hear how that turned out. And, we're probably going to get APs for SeaWorld at their next Blue Friday sale.
    Thanks for following along, I hope you enjoy it! Yes moving here is very exciting and I will be sharing my experiences so maybe it can help you:thumbsup2 Blue Friday specials for Sea World are great!

    Thanks so much for this Trip Report. Enjoyed reading it. And woot! For the all the savings you found to make so much fun for the trip for your family.
    Thanks, Lynne glad you are following along. Yes, we did have a great time and can't wait to go back.
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    June 25th Bush Gardens....

    We got a late start by my time. We didn't leave until about 8 am. I was worried about traffic going to Tampa. However, I would have to just hope for the best. We did have our breakfast bowls in the condo before we left. We were going to have lunch in the park and dinner with family at a Friday's in Tampa.
    We are an opening the park family especially for one we have never been too. We have been to Bush Gardens Virginia and loved it there. We had high hopes for Tampa.

    We got to the park about 9 15 parked and was at the turnstiles by 9 45. We went through security and over to guest relations. The park was already crowded for opening, I think the 10 start time draws more crowds. We got my Liv's accessibility pass and went on our way. I belong to a lot of forums on theme parks. I had gotten some tips for this park. We decided to go to Cheetah Hunt first. It is in front of the park to the right. We put our stuff in a locker just in case and go through the stand by line. We were up to the front within about 15 minutes. We decided on the back of the car we like the speed of it. Brian and Liv sat together and I sat with Charlie. We have this seating arrangement for the back of the cars. It was a great ride, very smooth and a cool track. However, there was one problem for Liv and I. We are both short about 5"1 and the shoulder restraint pad is level with our ears. Whenever we turned our ears hit this. It was a bit uncomfortable for short people. Brian and Charlie had no problem. I would ride this again just would have to find a good position for my head. Just for the record, we are rollercoaster junkies :D. We decided to head over to Tigirs (the newest warp coaster) going the long way through the paths of the animals. We took about a good hour stopping for the meerkats and the hyenas. There were some trainers feeding the hyenas and giving a lecture about them. It was really cool.

    Cheetah Hunt
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    meerkat1.jpgmeerkat2.jpghyena1.jpg

    After that we made our way to the center of the park where Flacon's Fury is. This is a 300 foot drop tower ride that drops you facing downward. Liv and I usually like these but in the sitting position. We decided to wait while the boys rode it. Well we decided to go into a shop and wait. We got lucky because I was going to be looking for this amazing pretzel place I heard about. We were standing right there. We looked at the menu and decided to get a snack when the guys get off. The guys enjoyed the ride and were ready for a snack. I didn't realize how big the stuffed pretzels are so we figured this would be our early lunch. Liv got a hamburger stuffed pretzel and Brian and Charlie got the bacon-wrapped one. I got plain pretzel bites with beer mustard on the side. Needless to say, they were delicious and very filling. Oh, and while we were eating there were 2 birds who wanted some so we did share a bit with them. There was one bird he would take it from our hand. Off we go and ended up at the tiger exhibit. Once again they have the habitat set up really cool. After that, we decided to do the sky ride before going to Tigris and getting a time. Well, I thought that the sky ride brings you all around but nope you have to get off and transfer. We would have to get off at the front of the park. The sky ride is so nice with great views. Once we got to the station we realized there was about a 45-minute wait. We decided to have the guys go on Cobra's Curse first since it was right there. This is a family-style coaster with spinning cars. The theme is amazing it was so cool to look at. Liv and I decided to wait, she wasn't feeling good and by now the temps had to be close to 98. We waited in the gift shop got some ice cream and shopped. The guys liked the ride, we finished our shopping then left.

    Tigris
    Tigris Track with SheiKra.jpg

    Cobras Curse
    220px-Side_of_Cobra's_Curse.jpg

    Falcons Fury
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    During the summer the Sea World parks give out some free beer samples. Brian and I wanted to take advantage of this. I really don't drink often but hey it's free beer. We found the restaurant which was right next to the ride. We got our samples and were off. It was about 1 30 at this time and we would be leaving about 4 4 30. We took our time walking the other way around the park to Tigris which was located in the back of the park. We took our time walking slowly, the heat was getting to us. We usually can handle the heat but this was one of the hottest days we have been in a park. We made our way to Tigris and it was down. However, within about 5 minutes it opened and we got right on. I sat with Liv in the middle and the guys were behind us. We have never ridden a sky warp coaster so we were excited. The ride takes off and I look over at Liv and she was green. Thank goodness this is a short ride about a minute and a half. Once we got off she had to sit awhile. I think the heat and fatigue got to her.

    It was about 3:00 so we decided to just wait for the train to go around the park. We were done with rides for the day. It was just too hot. We rode the train for about an hour both ways then decided to leave. We were meeting Brian's family in about 5 minutes from there. I picked a Friday's since that is what they requested. We haven't seen them since last summer when we stayed there for a few days. Everyone was excited to meet up. They live about an hour south of Tampa so it was a good middle ground. We got to Friday's and it was dead inside. It was about 4 :30 so we saw them and went to sit down. It was a nice visit. However, this Friday's seemed to be a bit run down. The food was okay but I have been to better ones. Anyway, his family treated us to dinner and we were there for about two hours. We said our good-byes through tears but knowing we will be closer to them next year. On the way home, we figured it would be a nice night to use the pool. Well, we were about 10 minutes from the condo and boy did storms roll in. It was barely visible on the highway. We got back and they let up but were still around so the pool was closed. About 9 it was still closed so we decided to skip it as we had an early day tomorrow. It was the big event, Discovery Cove. I packed everything that night. Discovery Cove is a place you want to be at a little before 7 am. This way you get an earlier dolphin swim time.

    Up next Discovery Cove....
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
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    Apr 21, 2003
    I'm glad you included pictures of the rides you talked about in your post.
    Cheeta, Cobras look like high costers.....and Falcon you shoot up and then drop down.

    I can't handle heights so now I know what rides I need to skip when I go........lol

    But, it sounds like you all had lots of fun on those rides!

    So nice you were able to meet up with the family and have dinner.
    Your food was not at its best but you had a long time to visit with the family there.

    Looking forward to your visit comments on Discovery Cove
     
  • Monykalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2014
    So excited to read the report!! Trying to convince the DH that our next set of AP's should be to Sea World/Busch Gardens parks. Awesome Blue Friday deals
    Ale House in Lake Buena Vista.
    One of our favorite places-we've eaten at several locations now, but that one is the favorite.
    this Friday's seemed to be a bit run down.
    I wonder if whole chain is declining. We have one in town that we used to really like, but last 2 times it just hasn't been good at all, and the one in the Holiday Inn by Universal is bad as well. Disappointing as I used to love their JD Entrees.

    Discovery Cove is on the bucket list. Hope Liv feels better.
     

    ICan'tWait

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 5, 2006
    Enjoying your trip report! I think we're having an almost copy of your vacation next month. We'll also be staying at SVR and going to Seaworld and Busch Gardens :) (also going to Universal). You mentioned you were glad to not have the dining plan at Aquatica. Did you happen to notice if the lines for food were also bad at Busch Gardens? We did get the dining plan (teen boys) and I'm hoping it doesn't work out to be more of a pain than a benefit.
     
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    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    I'm glad you included pictures of the rides you talked about in your post.
    Cheeta, Cobras look like high costers.....and Falcon you shoot up and then drop down.

    I can't handle heights so now I know what rides I need to skip when I go........lol

    But, it sounds like you all had lots of fun on those rides!

    So nice you were able to meet up with the family and have dinner.
    Your food was not at its best but you had a long time to visit with the family there.

    Looking forward to your visit comments on Discovery Cove
    Thanks Mac :Dglad you are enjoying it. I like adding the ride pics I think it can help people get a quick idea if it is for them. I was upset with myself because I really wanted to ride Falcon's Fury and I usually love drop towers, but I don't know at the last minute I declined, maybe next time.
    It was a really nice time seeing them, and it was nice they are sharing their Florida knowledge. They moved down from CT 6 years ag ago.

    So excited to read the report!! Trying to convince the DH that our next set of AP's should be to Sea World/Busch Gardens parks. Awesome Blue Friday deals
    One of our favorite places-we've eaten at several locations now, but that one is the favorite.

    I wonder if whole chain is declining. We have one in town that we used to really like, but last 2 times it just hasn't been good at all, and the one in the Holiday Inn by Universal is bad as well. Disappointing as I used to love their JD Entrees.

    Discovery Cove is on the bucket list. Hope Liv feels better.
    Thanks:-), she has been on and off feeling well. We are having more blood work done to check her anemia. I really enjoyed the Sea World parks more than I thought I did. When we move down next summer they will be the first to be bought with Universal. I hope he agrees with you for the AP's.

    We were all so shocked at how much we liked the ale house. I have heard the other locations are good as well. This is a place that will be on the itinerary when we go.

    Brian used to love their JD entrees too LOL!!! I loved their chicken pecan salad. Discovery Cove is the best!

    Enjoying your trip report! I think we're having an almost copy of your vacation next month. We'll also be staying at SVR and going to Seaworld and Busch Gardens :) (also going to Universal). You mentioned you were glad to not have the dining plan at Aquatica. Did you happen to notice if the lines for food were also bad at Busch Gardens? We did get the dining plan (teen boys) and I'm hoping it doesn't work out to be more of a pain than a benefit.
    Hi, I am so glad you are enjoying the trip report :goodvibes . That is cool that you are almost having the same vacation. I hope my trip report can offer you something. I have to be honest the day we went to Sea World it was crowded, but with a lot of camps too. Unfortunately, the lines for some of the restaurants were long. We were glad that we didn't have it that day. We could have purchased it at the park if the crowds were low. However, going next month the crowds may be lower so it won't be as bad. I think the meal plan at Sea World is great and has awesome reviews. I think I would get it at a slower time. I hope it works good for you. I have two teens and I know that club level resorts help us tremendously.
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    June 26th Discovery Cove...
    This was the big anticipated return here. We went two years ago and loved this place. We knew a lot about what to expect so that helped us a little more this time. We were not wasting much time finding information.

    We left the Vistana about 6:40 and got to DC about 6:55. I know from the last visit the earlier you get there the better dolphin swim time I would get. I really like the early morning slot this way we don't have to worry about a time crunch. They were having some computer problems but by 7:30 we were checked in got our swim time and went to breakfast. The buffet is your basic breakfast foods but we enjoyed it. They had scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, fruit, oatmeal, french toast sticks, then some danishes. The french toast sticks are the best I have had. They are crunchy, not soggy. We filled up on breakfast and it was about 8:15 so we went over and got our swim vests for the day. You have a choice of a swimsuit or swim vest. You ca also pick up your snorkeling gear. Charlie brought his own which you can do too. We do not like the feel of the whole suit so the vest works fine. You do have to have it on at all times you are in the water. The guards are very strict on this.

    Brian went over to the gift shop to get me a special pair of goggles for snorkeling. They are prescribed for people who are blurry up close. It was awesome and they are free of charge. You do have to sign for them and return them at the end of the day. We got to guest services for our cabana at about 8:30. I had requested our cabana be on the island with the aviary. It is off from the crowds and there are only 2 or 3 cabanas. It is isolated and so relaxing. I got my request. :woohoo:We followed the guide over to it and what was cool was we were next to the cabana we had last time. It was perfect.:goodvibes The cabana comes with a fridge, a locker, a hammock, table, chairs, snacks, cans of soda, water, towels and two lounge chairs on the deck.
    cabana2.jpgcabana3.jpgthumbnail.jpgcabanafall.jpg



    We settled in and decided to go over to the aviary first. The birds are hungry first thing in the morning and will come land on you to get food. It is so cool...

    brilivbird.jpgmebird (2).jpglivbird1.jpgcharbribird.jpg

    We spent about an hour here. There are three rooms with an animal guide in each one. They will give you the food and answer questions about the birds. This is a sanctuary for them and I don't think they would want to go anywhere else. When we were done the teens went into the lazy river, Brian went to see the otters and I was relaxing for a bit. Our dolphin swim was at 10:15 and we had to be there about 10:05 to fill out paperwork.
    I know from the previous visit that you can't have any jewelry on for the dolphin swim. They are attracted to it and it could cause a bit of a distraction. We locked our stuff up in our lockers and were off. If you don't have a cabana they do offer lockers in the general area.



    We got to our assigned hut and checked in. We had to fill out waivers for us and the teens. After a bit one of the trainers came in and gave us an introduction and all the do's and don'ts. We went down to the water with our trainer and our group. There was the 4 of us, a single girl, and two couples. It was a nice group. There are two trainers with the group. The dolphin encounter lasts about a half-hour. You get to hear facts about them, you can stroke them, give them a hug and a kiss. Our first dolphin was Cassie, she was the matriarch of the group. We had most of our interactions with her. When it was time for our dolphin ride into shore she got distracted and we had a younger dolphin named Rose. It was amazing as last time. It was different for me this time in the sense that I was brave enough to swim out for a "deep swim" in.

    I had bought the elite package which included the photo package, a tote bag, a towel and a bouy. The bouy would be inscribed and you pick a person to receive it from the dolphin. When we went for my 50th birthday two years ago I got it. This year was the Liv's turn for her graduation. It was priceless to see her face.

    swim1.jpgswim4 (2) - Copy.jpg

    When we were done we headed back to the cabana and our attendant was there. We placed an order of our favorite drinks and snacks for him to bring. One of the best things about DC is they have a couple of snack bars set up around the place. We just happened to have one by our cabana. Here they have cookies, mini hot pretzels, a variety of chips, icees, soda, beer wine. This is all you can eat all day long. We stopped for some snacks before doing the lazy river. This river is long and peaceful. It does drop to over 8 feet in places so I use a noodle (they provide) to go around. It passes through the aviary and many other pretty places. It takes about a half-hour from start to finish. After that, we went to the grand reef where snorkeling is. In this reef they have rays (without stingers, fish and man-made coral. It is so pretty and relaxing. The rays come by you and even brush you. We were in there a couple of hours. This water is about 70 degrees compared to the lazy river is 85 degrees. On our way to lunch, we saw they had a trainer with a macaw taking questions. In fact, there are trainers around the place giving talks to different species.

    The lunch buffet was great. There was chicken, pasta. pulled pork, steak, mac and cheese, cold cuts, fruit, dessert, salads. The food was good especially the steak and chimichurri sauce. Once again we stuffed ourselves then went back to the cabana. The teens went on the river again and Brian and I relaxed. He then went to go see if the otters were out. They have a cute habitat near our cabana. When the teens came back Liv had her 8th icee. Now you add all the food plus the icees, needless to say, what came next. I knew this was going to happen. She got sick and had to lay down. I am glad that it was about 45minutes till they closed so not a big deal. We left at 5:30 and made our way back to the Vistana. We decided to just grab some Wendy's and Taco Bell to have as a snack later. When we got back we just stayed inside and watched TV. It was an amazing and relaxing day.

    I hope you enjoyed DC, up next is a chill day with some family....
     
  • bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    Enjoying your trip report! I think we're having an almost copy of your vacation next month. We'll also be staying at SVR and going to Seaworld and Busch Gardens :) (also going to Universal). You mentioned you were glad to not have the dining plan at Aquatica. Did you happen to notice if the lines for food were also bad at Busch Gardens? We did get the dining plan (teen boys) and I'm hoping it doesn't work out to be more of a pain than a benefit.
    Hi, we usually do Universal almost every year. Last time we went to DC we didn't use the 14-day tickets to the other parks that were included. We decided to make use of them this year. It would have been too expensive to add Universal this year too. I am really glad we did this. Universal is our favorite then the Sea World Parks.
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    You day at dc was another exciting part of your vacation
    Like the details and pictures you included
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    You day at dc was another exciting part of your vacation
    Like the details and pictures you included
    Thanks, I realized the one thing I lacked again was food pics. I get so excited to eat I forget to take the pics LOL!!:laughing: Glad to see you back.
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    Thursday, June 27th...

    Today was going to be our kind of our relaxing day. We decided to meet up with my brother at The Grand Floridian for some swim time. He was going to Epcot in the morning and we were going to meet up at about 2. We had the morning to relax and sleep in. We decided to do lunch before meeting him in case they had eaten. We decided that another trip to The Ale House was in order. Their lunch menu looked good when we were there. About 11:30 we headed over there, trying to beat lunch crowds. We got there and it was pretty empty so we were seated promptly. The waiter came over and brought us the menus and water right away.
    Brian ordered soup and salad, it was a chicken tortilla soup and house salad.
    Charlie got the zingers, which are boneless wings. He was able to mix sauces and was happy.
    Liv had the philly cheese sandwich
    I had the southwest seared flat iron steak salad
    The lunch food was just as good as dinner. We were very happy with our choices and couldn't wait to come here more often.
    We sat around for a bit after until my brother texted me. We paid our bill and was off to see them.

    The Vistana is only a few minutes from the Ale House and so are the Disney resorts. We took off and it took us about 15 minutes to get over there. He texted me to tell me he would be a little late so we walked around the resort and sat in the lobby. We visited the Floridian once when we had the character dinner there. It is a beautiful resort just not our type of themeing. I live in New England and get bored of the view. When they got there we all went over to their room. It was located on the lagoon side facing MK. It was a beautiful view but the room was not that big for the price he paid. He has two children 2 and 5 so they got the kids dressed and we took turns. We all walked down to the main pool and found a seat which I was surprised. We ended up staying a couple of hours with them and had a great time.

    They were going to a character dinner so we were on our way. We couldn't decide where to go. I had mentioned going to Red Lobster in Lake Buena Vista and everyone seemed on board. We do have Red Lobster here in CT but I just never go. We got there and it was really slow inside. We got our table and the menus right away. The server brought us those delicious biscuits and we ordered.
    Brian got the fish tacos
    Liv and I got a shrimp fettuccini
    Charlie got a bunch of appetizers which included sushi.
    The food was good, Liv and I took our leftovers and headed back to the resort. I didn't really look at the menu ahead of time and didn't realize they are a little on the pricey side. I wouldn't go back just because I could spend the same at somewhere a little better.
    We got back to the resort and decided to hang inside since we would be getting up early for Sea World.
     

    bobbie68

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2009
    Friday, June 28th Sea World...

    We were excited to go to Sea World. I was the only one who had been there once and that was in the '80s. We left about 8:15 got to the park about 8:30 was let in to park. We found a good spot, got all our stuff out and headed to security. I had not done many pictures this trip. I was determined to get some pics here. When we got through the turnstiles we caught a photographer and got our pic taken. Then as we were walking in I saw the penguin with photographers taking pics so we jumped in.
    usseaworld.jpg

    Liv and I knew we wouldn't like Manta so I suggested to the boys to go on it while it was slow. I had heard good things about this coaster but it has ankle restraints, and I don't like that.
    250px-Mantawater.jpg

    Liv and I hung out while they rode. We were going to go to Mako after that. There are only 3 coasters, besides the several other rides. We usually just stick to them, spinning rides and water rides don't work with clothes. I knew there was one more named Kracken but it is older and can shake you up
    so we would pass on that later. I had Liv help me take selfies of us. It was fun doing this with her.

    livmeselfie.jpg

    When the boys got off we decided to head to Mako. I didn't know that they open that part of the park at 10. We decided to line up with other people we only had about 15 minutes. When the rope dropped we headed there and got a locker. We had Brian's bag so we would need one. We knew we wouldn't use a lot of lockers today so paying for one was fine. We got in line and headed to the top. I knew we would be familiar with this type of coaster. We go to 6 flags in NJ and this is the same type of Giga coaster only newer. The one in NJ is one of our favorites so I was looking forward to this. We waited about 5 minutes for the front row. It really is the best seat on this type. We took off and this ride did not disappoint. Liv seems to need more breaks between rides so we didn't go on again.

    mako.jpg

    We decided to start seeing the shows. It was going to be one of our main things to do here. While we were waiting we needed some water. It had to be in the high 80's already. However, I came to learn that Sea World doesn't have any stands to fill their refillable cups that early. We finally found a restaurant that opened close to 11 and there had to be over 200 campers. I was feeling light-headed at this time so we asked a server if she could just get us water and she did. We met Liv and Brian at the Pets Ahoy show. We had good seats upfront and were really excited for this show. The show lasted about a half-hour and it didn't disappoint. It was a combination of animal antics. The best part is that every one of them was rescued. There were dogs, cats, a pig, ducks, a skunk, and some birds. We loved it and stayed after to meet a couple of the actors. We do cat rescue so this was close to our hearts. Next up would be the sea lion show after lunch. I know that in theme parks you have to eat when they open or the lines get too long.
    We ate at the Spice Mill and the food was great. Brian and I had a codfish quesadilla and Liv and Charlie had a Veggie Burger. We were nice and full and ready to go to the sealions.

    We made our way up there and got good seats. This show is a funny skit with the sea lions and there are some human actors as well. After the show, we went and fed the sea lions. It was fun to do this. You have to watch for the birds though they try to intercept the fish. There was this one sea lion who was shaking a lot. The teens were worried about him so they went to an attendant. He laughed and told us that he does this for attention. He figured out that if he does this he gets more fish!!!!

    From there we decided to cool off and go to the Antartica exhibit. There was about an hour wait but we decided to get a time to come back. We get a DAS pass for Liv. While we were waiting for the boys went to ride Kracken.
    Kraken_(SeaWorld_Orlando)_01.jpg

    Liv and I passed and sat down. About a half-hour later we noticed the rides were closing and saw the sky darken. The boys caught up with us and got lucky they were the last train before it went down. We made our way to the penguins. We decided to the ride but the mild side. Liv and I get sick from spinning. The ride was really cool and we all enjoyed it. When we got off at the penguins it was sooo cold. I had been warned but you don't really get it until you are there. It was a welcome relief also. We were there about 15 minutes then left. It was awesome to watch them swim, they are so fast. We headed to the dolphin show as this would be our last show for the day. The show didn't disappoint and Liv and I found ourselves teary-eyed at the music.

    The last thing of the day before shopping was to feed the sting rays. I was so excited for this. We go over to the tank, buy our food and find a spot. We each got a tray of raw shrimp. For anyone who hasn't done it you put the shrimp between your fingers and bend them. You put your hand on the bottom of the floor and they come by and suck it out of your fingers. It feels so cool. They are very friendly, have no teeth and stingers. Their mouth is on the bottom. If I had done this in the beginning of the day I would have stayed here all day and feed them. I know I could have spent so much money on this.

    meray.jpg


    We stayed for a bit then went shopping. It was about 5:00 now and we decided to leave and go to Kobe Japanese restaurant. I had heard great things about this from a friend on the boards. We left and headed for the one in Orlando. We got there and only had to wait about 20 minutes for more people to come. They like to fill a table on a weekend. Once we were seated for the hibachi the waitress gave us menus and took drink orders. We had a full table of 10. We made our selections and talked to other people while waiting. Everyone was nice and had a good time. One of the couples bought Brian a scorpion bowl drink and he was very happy. Brian and Charlie had Tuna, Liv had shrimp and I had scallops. The food was fantastic one of the best hibachi I have had. There were no leftovers to take home. Once we were done we headed back to the resort to realx. We were tired from today. We spent the night relaxing in the condo and would have a slower morning. We were going to be looking at neighborhoods to Liv on Saturday and then some resort time.

    I hope you enjoyed our Sea World day up next is neighborhood shopping...
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Sounds like it was an exciting vacation!
    Glad I have been reading along as got a visual on the coaster rides.
     

    Joanna71985

    <marquee><font color=green>Characters are my frien
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2005
    Kobe's is my other go-to restaurant in Central FL (I've been twice this month so far)
     

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