"Enjoy these moments; they are precious"-Lesley's EPIC May TR!-COMPLETED-10/2-Last stops at Flower & Garden and Wrap Up

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Hello and welcome to everyone! I haven't gone thru all my photos (or everyone else's) yet, but I figured I'd get this TR started! Also, 2 weeks before Star Wars Galaxy's Edge opens! EEEPPP! I'll be there on opening day with all the crazies! I can't wait!

Oh, and I'm trying out using Google Photos instead of Imgur, so let me know if it works well for people!

Saturday, April 27 -
Day 1 - Where is the TV screen??

Up to about a month before the trip, this morning would have started with me sleeping in. Maybe seeing Endgame for a second time (I saw it in one of the Thursday night shows). And packing for the trip which I was leaving for on Wednesday morning. Well, of course life takes a different turn!

Somehow I ended up discovering that there was a work conference that fit perfectly into my engineering specialty in Orlando on the Monday and Tuesday! At first I expected it would be too late and there wouldn't be the budget, but after talking with some co-workers/higher ups at the company, we realized it would work out nicely. One of my actual office co-workers was schedule to go to it, but she actually didn't really want to due to family matters, so was happy I could take it over! And for me, that would give me the opportunity to attend one of the Orlando Informer Universal Studios meetups, which I have been wanting to visit for a while! In theory, I should have flown in on Sunday, but because I'm a deal sleuther, I was able to show that flying in a day early, plus staying at different hotels than the conference, would actually save $600, despite the extra night! Woohoo! So, this way I was able to get my company to pay for my airfare, hotel for the first 4 nights, and food for those days! Much appreciated!



Ok, anyways, back to the actual trip!

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning (way too early - about 3:30am for my 7am flight). My mom agreed to drive me to the airport, despite me being willing to get an Uber/Shuttle. I had no problems at security (yay for pre-check), and ended up picking up a few snacks for the flight.



Boarding was uneventful (well, after I shoved people out of the way who were blocking the boarding aisle even though they had a late boarding group number >:() and I was lucky enough to get a row with no one sitting in the middle seat (despite them saying over the loudspeaker it was a full flight and I know people trying to fly standby were being bumped, but whatever... it gave me more space :D! (If any of your are following @Raeven 's current Disneyland TR, this was actually the day after their planes got all messed up due to the bad weather in Baltimore. I think it must have impacted flights everywhere!) Unfortunately when I boarded I discovered there were no seat-back entertainment screens! I think pretty much every longer flight I've been on in the past decade has included these, but I guess the trend now is to save money and remove them >:(>:(>:(.



I was flying American and they have a Personal Device Entertainment, which requires you to use your own phone/laptop/tablet, but at least you get some free movies and tv. It's just super annoying since I tend to like to mess on my phone, while watching a movie... I also would have been stuck holding the phone if not for a fun purchase I made shortly before the flight: I give you the BEV LEDGE!



This was only $10 on Amazon and folds down flat when not in use, but it gives you a place to put your drink cups that isn't the pull-down tray. That is always a pain, so I decided to try this out and it worked wonderfully! I was also able to prop my phone up on the slot in the center, so I could watch movies that way, rather than crane my neck down to watch from the tray table. Every time the flight attendants saw it, they were totally stumped! And thought it was sooo amazing! Which it is. So, if you are going to be flying in a window seat, I cannot recommend highly enough!

Ok, enough with the sales pitch.

On the flight I ended up eating my snacks. I also got the fruit and cheese tray, but made a stupid mistake. I had seen the menu option for the tray which included 3 types of cheeses, crackers, and chocolate. But I got the tray that included 1 type of cheese, hard boiled egg, sliced apple, grapes, almond butter, and muesil snacking round - of that, all I ate was the cheese and apple slices. I didn't notice that the breakfast platter is on flights leaving before 9:45am, and the fruit and cheese platter is for flights leaving 9:46am and later... argh! Also an expensive mistake... thankfully my company was paying for my food this time!



On the flight I ended up watching Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, as well as Free Solo. Both were very good. I still love the live-action Marvel movies, but the story behind Spiderman was great. And Free Solo - holy crap, how does he do that?



Before long we were approaching Orlando. And for the first time I was able to spy Walt Disney World from the air! Epcot is the first thing and easiest to see with the World Showcase. Then I picked out everything else from there! You can check the first images, see if you can pick everything out (actually pretty much the entire Disney property is in these photos), then check my markups afterwards!


My markups:



Oh, and I kept looking and was able to see Universal Studios too!



Finally, around 3pm my plane landed. I was greated with a text from Karilyn (@Malia78), letting me know she was headed to our meeting spot! I headed off the plane, on the faux-rail and into the main MCO terminal. While I was there, I pulled up my Lyft app (I had some discount codes which made them cheaper than Uber for many of these trips), and called up a car. No Magical Express for me this day!

(Oh, and when travelling, I had a large checked bag, my backpack, and a smaller roller carryon. My carry-ons had everything I would need until the following afternoon, because while I didn't take the DME bus, I still used the luggage tag for my checked bag. It was sent directly to Port Orleans: Riverside, even though I wasn't checking in until the following day. It's not quite following the rules, but it worked. I just wouldn't recommend it for longer than 1 night or the bag people at the resort may be annoyed!)

I also got a bit turned around in MCO - I've only ever taken DME from there! I followed the signs for ground transport, so took an escalator from Level 3 (the arrivals/security/etc) to Level 2 and then down to Level 1, where the signs for Ground Transportation led me. Of course, that was wrong, as ride shares pick up on Level 2. So, I then hopped back on the "up" escalator, which of course takes you all the way to Level 3... so I then made a U-turn and got back on the first escalator, heading back down to Level 2... Oh well, I still made it out to the pick up spot before my car!

We quickly headed out and onto my first resort of the trip:


I was looking forward to staying here, because I know Raeven loves this one, and I was able to get a very good deal. But, oh the saga of my hotels for Universal. @ArielSRL is my go-to Travel Agent and she understands! First, I was supposed to be at Sapphire Falls for all 4 extra nights. Then, I found out Owner's Locker was in a dispute with Loews Universal hotels about delivery procedures, so they weren't going to deliver to my resort (I don't even know if that is still the case, because people have been getting conflicting info...). But I really wanted my OL, as it is so much easier to travel with all those things already being in Orlando (various toiletries, supplies, etc). So, we looked at switching to 1 night at Universal and 3 nights at Disney (I wanted my first night at Universal because the Orlando Informer event went until 1:30am). But of course Loews was being all annoying and the cheapest Sapphire Falls room for 1-night was over $600 for a suite! If you searched for 2-nights then you got a standard room, but any single nighters were out of luck. :sad2: I did have the Aventura Hotel booked, which would have been fine, but it's not right on the boat shuttle line, so it wasn't ideal for what I wanted. But then I kept my ear to the ground and eventually got RPR for the one night. Phew...



As I entered the resort, I had DISMEET #1 of the trip, with Karilyn! I don't even think we had interacted much on the Dis or otherwise, but she also decided to do the OI event, and I agreed to let her stay on the extra bed in my room so she wouldn't need to go back to Animal Kingdom Villas at 2am alone! It was very nice getting to chat with her and share our love of both Disney and Harry Potter! We are also both West-coasters, so that was fun!

Check-in was a breeze. I had added Karilyn to the reservation name, so we both ended up getting Expresses passes (though we only used them once). We also got to meet a minion in the lobby, which was funny!


The room location wasn't the most convenient - pretty far from the boat launch, but it worked for a night. The room itself was very nice, I liked the Polynesian touches. I remember the space being good, but all we really had were some backpacks, so it wasn't like I unpacked or anything! But I'd consider staying there again if the price was right (I'd maybe like the Hard Rock Hotel better for location, being right next to the parks, but this one worked out ok).

Some room photos:


Coming up - Orlando Informer Universal MeetUp! And Dismeets #2 & 3.
 

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Oh, and a quick favor with respect to the photos - I noticed on Imgur, it doesn't "hold" the spot before the photos load. So, basically as they load, you could end up getting shifted to a different part of the page. I've noticed that with some other TRs and it can be annoying (not blaming the authors, its the software thats annoying). But some TRs use a photo method that will basically keep a spot open for the size of the photo, so you will stay at the same spot on the page even before they are done loading. I know copying the photos directly into the post can help that, but then you are limited to 10 images per post, which if you've read any of my previous TRs know, that isn't going to work!

Question - does that happen with Google Photos for anyone too? I can't really tell because the photos are already loaded for me. Just trying to figure out the best option!
 
  • PlutosRHM55

    Pluto's Prince (Haters back off!)
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2010
    Yay for travel/arrival day! That is so weird you were on a flight without the TVs in the seats. That JetBlue life really got everyone spoiled lol

    Omg I need a bev ledge, that looks so necessary and way better than balancing a drink between your legs as tends to happen for me. More reason now to get a window seat haha

    I cannot believe how much you could make out in those air view photos of the parks. I could only get Epcot because I recognized the Innoventions buildings and World Showcase lagoon. Everything else I'm just like "WHAT WHERE I'M BLIND"

    Finding where Ride Share goes in contrast to ground transportation is an EXPERIENCE. I've done it now at LAX TWICE and I think it's finally broke me in, but I feel the difficulty. It's so wild thinking it would be in one place and then they're like "Nope, it's here" Quite the adventure

    Your room is so pretty! I'm not too too familiar with the Universal rooms, but that looks really nice. Maybe I'll have to splurge on an overnight over there for my CP this time around lol Could get good use out of those Express passes.
     

    fallonkendra

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 2, 2015
    I give you the BEV LEDGE!



    This was only $10 on Amazon and folds down flat when not in use, but it gives you a place to put your drink cups that isn't the pull-down tray. That is always a pain, so I decided to try this out and it worked wonderfully! I was also able to prop my phone up on the slot in the center, so I could watch movies that way, rather than crane my neck down to watch from the tray table. Every time the flight attendants saw it, they were totally stumped! And thought it was sooo amazing! Which it is. So, if you are going to be flying in a window seat, I cannot recommend highly enough!

    Ok, enough with the sales pitch.
    Ok, this thing looks amazing!
     

    Raeven

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2015
    (If any of your are following @Raeven 's current Disneyland TR, this was actually the day after their planes got all messed up due to the bad weather in Baltimore. I think it must have impacted flights everywhere!)
    Yes I think it did affect everywhere for a couple days! Because the storm moved on afterwards affecting over airports and because on that day almost every plane seemed to pass through BWI at least once (at least all the ones coming to our airport) so if that's not where the layover was, the plane was coming from there at some point that day.

    I was flying American and they have a Personal Device Entertainment, which requires you to use your own phone/laptop/tablet, but at least you get some free movies and tv. It's just super annoying since I tend to like to mess on my phone, while watching a movie.
    I think I've only flown once on a flight with TVs on the seat backs. Southwest never has TV's on the back of the seats, but I don't really mind using my phone.

    I was looking forward to staying here, because I know Raeven loves this one, and I was able to get a very good deal.
    Yes that's my favorite Universal hotel! Although I like every one I've stayed at, but I think that's my favorite :rotfl:

    We also got to meet a minion in the lobby, which was funny!
    Aw cute!

    Question - does that happen with Google Photos for anyone too? I can't really tell because the photos are already loaded for me. Just trying to figure out the best option!
    That's hard to say, I think it depends on the device and Internet speed. I never have an issue on my computer at home, but pages load slower when I'm on my phone at work, and that's when I usually experience that. I didn't think it was the picture hosting sites so much as the speed of the page when it loads.
     

    StarWarsMomofGirls!

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2015
    Hello and welcome to everyone! I haven't gone thru all my photos (or everyone else's) yet, but I figured I'd get this TR started! Also, 2 weeks before Star Wars Galaxy's Edge opens! EEEPPP! I'll be there on opening day with all the crazies! I can't wait!
    I am so excitied for you! Next weekend!!!!

    I give you the BEV LEDGE!

    This is amazing!!!!

    This was only $10 on Amazon and folds down flat when not in use, but it gives you a place to put your drink cups that isn't the pull-down tray.
    Wait you ordered this on amazon!?! I thought it was part of the plane.

    Ok, enough with the sales pitch.
    I am sold!

    On the flight I ended up watching Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, as well as Free Solo. Both were very good. I still love the live-action Marvel movies, but the story behind Spiderman was great. And Free Solo - holy crap, how does he do that?

    So, Morgan and Gwen LOVED Into the Spiderverse!

    Also, I am not "allowed" to watch Free Solo now that Gwen is a little rock climbing gal. My sister said it would def make me nervous.
     
  • buteraa

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2008
    Hi, following along! The Bev Ledge is genius, I will be ordering one. I hope you to a trip report for your Asia trip. I loved the report you did at Disney/France so thank you for taking the time to do them.
     

    Steppesister

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2013
    Finally checking in here and subbing in. I even have read up to this point and am all caught up!

    I always look for Disney when I approach Orlando and can never see it at all! OY. Good eye!

    Isn't Kari a sweet lady!? I have loved getting to know her!

    I'm totally getting a Bev Ledge. I always take the window so need one! Great start, Leslie!
     

    amazingact21

    Upendi
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2010
    That bev ledge is really ingenious! I love that it comes with a phone holder. Does it also work with water bottles? (The ones that come with meals on the plane tend to be thinner than a can of soda.)

    The room looked really nice, but good to know Hard Rock is probably better for a longer trip.
     

    kastoney

    Disney foodie served with a side of sarcasm
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2010
    but because I'm a deal sleuther, I was able to show that flying in a day early, plus staying at different hotels than the conference, would actually save $600, despite the extra night! Woohoo! So, this way I was able to get my company to pay for my airfare, hotel for the first 4 nights, and food for those days! Much appreciated!
    This brings a whole new level to Disney math!

    Boarding was uneventful (well, after I shoved people out of the way who were blocking the boarding aisle even though they had a late boarding group number :()
    Remind me not to fly with you!

    This is amazing. I'll have to look into getting one of those. Especially with the kiddo trying to balance everything can be a challenge.

    You have some seriously impressive geography skills going on right there!

    Your room looks great. Its amazing how a few throw pillows can liven a room up (hint hint to Disney and their sterile beds) :P
     
  • chunkymonkey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 27, 2009
    Oh, and a quick favor with respect to the photos - I noticed on Imgur, it doesn't "hold" the spot before the photos load. So, basically as they load, you could end up getting shifted to a different part of the page. I've noticed that with some other TRs and it can be annoying (not blaming the authors, its the software thats annoying). But some TRs use a photo method that will basically keep a spot open for the size of the photo, so you will stay at the same spot on the page even before they are done loading. I know copying the photos directly into the post can help that, but then you are limited to 10 images per post, which if you've read any of my previous TRs know, that isn't going to work!

    Question - does that happen with Google Photos for anyone too? I can't really tell because the photos are already loaded for me. Just trying to figure out the best option!
    I've only used Google, and not ever Imgur and I'm allowed 35 photos in a post. Not sure what you mean about keeping the spot but so far it hasn't caused me any issues and I had no problem reading your post without being shifted around. I Think it also depends on how fast your internet is when you are reading the post.

    In theory, I should have flown in on Sunday, but because I'm a deal sleuther, I was able to show that flying in a day early, plus staying at different hotels than the conference, would actually save $600, despite the extra night! Woohoo! So, this way I was able to get my company to pay for my airfare, hotel for the first 4 nights, and food for those days! Much appreciated!

    Yay!!! I like how it all worked out!

    Boarding was uneventful (well, after I shoved people out of the way who were blocking the boarding aisle even though they had a late boarding group number :()
    Ugh I hate that! There is a process for a reason!



    This was only $10 on Amazon and folds down flat when not in use, but it gives you a place to put your drink cups that isn't the pull-down tray. That is always a pain, so I decided to try this out and it worked wonderfully! I was also able to prop my phone up on the slot in the center, so I could watch movies that way, rather than crane my neck down to watch from the tray table. Every time the flight attendants saw it, they were totally stumped! And thought it was sooo amazing! Which it is. So, if you are going to be flying in a window seat, I cannot recommend highly enough!
    That is really cool! I myself am an aisle girl but if I ever get a window then this would be really useful!

    On the flight I ended up watching Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, as well as Free Solo. Both were very good. I still love the live-action Marvel movies, but the story behind Spiderman was great. And Free Solo - holy crap, how does he do that?

    I really liked Spiderman Into the Spiderverse and I really want to see Free Solo. I read many articles about him preparing for the climb of El Capitan so no I have to see the movie!

    (Oh, and when travelling, I had a large checked bag, my backpack, and a smaller roller carryon. My carry-ons had everything I would need until the following afternoon, because while I didn't take the DME bus, I still used the luggage tag for my checked bag. It was sent directly to Port Orleans: Riverside, even though I wasn't checking in until the following day. It's not quite following the rules, but it worked. I just wouldn't recommend it for longer than 1 night or the bag people at the resort may be annoyed!)
    That is cool that you can do that. I should have thought about doing that lol.
     

    2xcited2sleep

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2008
    How awesome to have a conference that your work would support overlapping. Such serendipity!! The bev ledge is amazing!!! I’m generally an aisle gal but this has me thinking about the window, for sure!! Love the aerial views. I’m not familiar at all with the Universal resorts but hope to check them out in the future.
     

    xlsm

    Snow White
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2013
    Alright, let's get this party started!!

    The biggest co-stars in this TR will be my roomies at YC and BC – Caroline (@disneyAndi14 ) and Molly(@Mollydolly334 )! We never met in person or even spoke on the phone until we arrived at WDW – in fact, Caroline met me while I was in a wet bathing suit!
    You ladies were brave, this would give me so much anxiety, but luckily there is enough connection between you already with Dis and the trip planning to create a safety zone, LOL!! I'm so glad the roomie situation worked well for the three of you

    Which did I like more – Yacht Club or Beach Club?
    I'm so curious!! It's YC for me in June...I'm too afraid of BC and the no balcony thing - I'm not sure if it would actually bother me, but it's what keeps me from committing to a room there.

    Unfortunately when I boarded I discovered there were no seat-back entertainment screens!
    I was flying American
    Whaaat? For that long of a flight on American that's surprising. We fly Delta most of the time, and they have the gogo in flight wifi and entertainment thing. I don't love watching on my phone, but the invention of Pop Sockets made it easier at least!

    I also would have been stuck holding the phone if not for a fun purchase I made shortly before the flight: I give you the BEV LEDGE!

    I saw this on your facebook and loved it!! What a clever little gadget!! I might have to get one of these

    Your room at Royal Pacific is pretty! On our one Universal visit we booked a room but didn't use it - it was when the resort was being refurbed to the rooms like yours with the big flowers on the wall - we did go up and see the room (wasn't refurbished yet, but great view of The Hulk), but other than that we didn't spend time at the resort. We'll be there in September so I'm looking forward to exploring more.
     

    buzzrelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2005
    Somehow I ended up discovering that there was a work conference that fit perfectly into my engineering specialty in Orlando on the Monday and Tuesday! At first I expected it would be too late and there wouldn't be the budget, but after talking with some co-workers/higher ups at the company, we realized it would work out nicely. One of my actual office co-workers was schedule to go to it, but she actually didn't really want to due to family matters, so was happy I could take it over! And for me, that would give me the opportunity to attend one of the Orlando Informer Universal Studios meetups, which I have been wanting to visit for a while! In theory, I should have flown in on Sunday, but because I'm a deal sleuther, I was able to show that flying in a day early, plus staying at different hotels than the conference, would actually save $600, despite the extra night! Woohoo! So, this way I was able to get my company to pay for my airfare, hotel for the first 4 nights, and food for those days! Much appreciated!
    I'm surprised your work hasn't caught onto you…Oh, Lesley wants to go to another conference in Orlando…hmmmm :rolleyes1

    Unfortunately when I boarded I discovered there were no seat-back entertainment screens! I think pretty much every longer flight I've been on in the past decade has included these, but I guess the trend now is to save money and remove them :(:(:(.
    All I see is that guy's head looking like a Shar Pei :laughing:

    This was only $10 on Amazon and folds down flat when not in use, but it gives you a place to put your drink cups that isn't the pull-down tray. That is always a pain, so I decided to try this out and it worked wonderfully!
    That's cute, but I'm an aisle girl. I get too claustrophobic at the window.

    And for the first time I was able to spy Walt Disney World from the air! Epcot is the first thing and easiest to see with the World Showcase. Then I picked out everything else from there! You can check the first images, see if you can pick everything out (actually pretty much the entire Disney property is in these photos), then check my markups afterwards!
    Wow! I didn't find anything even though you told us it was there :laughing:

    First, I was supposed to be at Sapphire Falls for all 4 extra nights. Then, I found out Owner's Locker was in a dispute with Loews Universal hotels about delivery procedures, so they weren't going to deliver to my resort (I don't even know if that is still the case, because people have been getting conflicting info...)
    I wonder what this is all about :confused3 That's a big drawback to staying there if they can't get it worked out.

    But of course Loews was being all annoying and the cheapest Sapphire Falls room for 1-night was over $600 for a suite! If you searched for 2-nights then you got a standard room, but any single nighters were out of luck.
    We were in a similar situation last April 2018. I was so beyond frustrated with their pricing that I ended up cancelling the Universal part and we did a 3-night cruise instead.
     

    missangelalexis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2012
    Wow, nice job spotting all the parks from in the air! Very cool!

    Love your pic with the minion :) And your room looks really nice!!
     

    missjackiemcg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2013
    Loved the I spy WDW and USO from the air pics!!! Funny enough, the thing I spotted first was Pop Century of all things!

    Your hotel room looks very nice! Looking forward to hearing about the Orlando Informer event!
     

    KathyM2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2011
    And Free Solo - holy crap, how does he do that?
    I watched this on a plane recently too....nuts huh?

    I'm here to follow along!! BTW...I can't figure out how to post photos at all...so anything you do is pretty awesome to me lol
     

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