"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
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.
It was annoying there were no TVs, but it was the same way on my return flight! I guess Disney isn't the only one doing cost cuttings!

The bevledge was great! And totally recommend.

Luckily I've never had to take an Uber from LAX! But I'll have to make sure to really figure it out if I ever need to!

The RPR room was very pretty - loved the wall paper!

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 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.

Yes that's my favorite Universal hotel! Although I like every one I've stayed at, but I think that's my favorite :rotfl:

Aw cute!

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.
I think the TV thing was just because I've gotten so used to them in the past several years! It really helps pass the time!

I'll have to check if it's just my phone loading then!

I am so excitied for you! Next weekend!!!!

This is amazing!!!!

Wait you ordered this on amazon!?! I thought it was part of the plane.

I am sold!

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.
I between Gwen particularly loved Gwen Stacey!

Yeah, I would be hesitant to watch it in your case. They do have a part where they talk about the various climbers who have fallen to their deaths (though those were all free climbers, not people with ropes and harnesses).

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.
I definitely plan on doing one for Asia! I had fun doing the Paris one and reliving the moments! Also helping to introduce international parks to more people! My goal is to complete all my current TRs (and the February one) before I leave!

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!
I think spotting Epcot was the key. Then I was able to spot Pop/AoA since it's pretty distinctive from the air. And then, parking lots are key! That's how I found AK and confirmed the location of DHS!

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.
I think it may fit a water bottle. Maybe a skinner one though! I had a bottle of coke, and I know I did put it there, but I don't remember if I took it off because it didn't fit or if I just didn't want to have it there! :confused3 I did actually use my reading glasses case to help prop up my phone so I could watch movies while my phone was resting horizontally!

Oh, I would still consider RPR. It's cheaper than Hard Rock and still very nice. It's also not exactly far away, just not as close as Hard Rock. RPR is about 2/3 mile walk from the parks, whereas Hard Rock is less than 1,000 ft. I think RPR felt like it was more spread out. But it's still a gorgeous resort!

This brings a whole new level to Disney math!

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
Haha - for flying, I'm normally ok. It's when you get 50 people crowded around the queue entrance and their boarding number isn't until several groups later, so they just basically block everyone else! Very aggravating (I had Main Cabin Select, which meant I boarded earlier than some other people).

Definitely the pillows and wallpaper brought great pops of color!
 

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
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.

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

Ugh I hate that! There is a process for a reason!

That is really cool! I myself am an aisle girl but if I ever get a window then this would be really useful!

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!

That is cool that you can do that. I should have thought about doing that lol.
The bag trick could have been a risk, but they mentioned some of it on Backside of Magic (i.e. when they stay someplace cheap for the first night, but just get their bags sent to the nicer place directly).

And I guess it was just me for the photos!

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.
It worked out great with the conference! And I didn't even sacrifice any Disney time, because these were total extra days. And gave me extra time on the Wednesday and Sunday, plus the Universal event!

Alright, let's get this party started!!

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

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.

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 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.
There was a bit of nerves, but I could tell Caroline and Molly were both so sweet, I didn't worry about it!

Spoiler alert - but I think we all agreed that we liked YC's lobby better, but BC's rooms better. We only had one of those 1/2 balconies for BC, so couldn't really use it, but with the love bugs, I didn't even want to go out there! We had a special request of the rooms with 2 beds and a couch, so maybe with more flexibility you could get a bigger balcony! I also feel like more areas of YC are closer to Stormalong Bay than some of the areas of BC. Our room was pretty much as close to Epcot as you can get though!

Looks really cool! Especially if you often fly in the window seat

That doc was just wild!

That's a beautiful room!
It was pretty! And yeah, I got the hebbie jebbies watching that movie! It helped being on a phone screen - I don't think I'd be able to see it on a movie theatre screen!

I'm surprised your work hasn't caught onto you…Oh, Lesley wants to go to another conference in Orlando…hmmmm :rolleyes1

All I see is that guy's head looking like a Shar Pei :laughing:

That's cute, but I'm an aisle girl. I get too claustrophobic at the window.

Wow! I didn't find anything even though you told us it was there :laughing:

I wonder what this is all about :confused3 That's a big drawback to staying there if they can't get it worked out.

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.
Oh, they have caught on! Everyone knows I'm crazy Disney. When I was in Orlando, the regional VP stopped in the office to give annual awards to my boss/co-workers. I guess some people mentioned I was in Disney again, and then when I met the VP last week, he was like - Oh, you're the Disney one!

For viewing - trick is to find Epcot. Also, look for large parking lots!

Next time you want to stay at Universal, let me know! I have a trick I can help you with!
 

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
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!!
It was exciting to see everything from the air finally! I didn't pick out most of the places until I looked at the photo later. I did pick out the parks (parking lots are key indicators), and some of the more distinctive resorts.

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!
Pop Century was also one I saw right away!

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
Haha - posting photos is easy enough! But, hey, these boards can be glitchy!

I'm here! Will try my best to keep up! I've enjoyed your arrival day updates so far :)
Thanks!
 
  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Juuuust starting to catch up... Let's dive in, shall we?

    Two fisted ice cream eating. Right out of the gate I'm liking what I see! :laughing:

    My name is Lesley and I'm a 33 yr old engineer,
    :wave:

    The Dis has allowed me to make so many great (online) friendships, some of whom I've been able to meet in person in WDW or Disneyland
    ::yes:: So much, this.

    I am also in the middle of planning a 3-week trip to Asia in the Fall to check the rest of the Disney parks off my list!
    Wow! Nice!

    Awwwww...

    :laughing: Yu guys look like you're having so much fun!

    Pinkies out!

    Follow along to find out the answers to these questions:
    • What did I think about the Universal Studios Orlando Informer Meetup?
    • Did I fall asleep during my conference? (If I’m asking this question, you probably know the answer already!)
    • How was the 30th anniversary celebration at DHS?
    • Which did I like more – Yacht Club or Beach Club?
    • What crazy things did I see on the safari?
    • Who spoke the heartwarming quote that I used to title this TR?
    • How did I like using Lyft/Uber throughout the trip?
    • What was the biggest annoyance during the trip?
    • Would all these virtual strangers get along?
    • Will we ever do this again?
    • How was Dapper Day at Epcot?
    popcorn::

    Did I forget anyone who has already started one?
    I'll let you know when I start mine (hoping for in the next few days).
    Not exactly an EPIC TR, but... I do have a few meets with some of the players, so...
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    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!
    On opening day!?!?!?!?


    :faint:

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

    there was a work conference that fit perfectly into my engineering specialty
    What is your specialty?
    (If you don't mind my asking. If you do, please ignore the question.)

    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!
    Niiice!

    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 need to find a new career, obviously.
    I need to be paid to go on trips. :) (To Disney. I get paid to go to... nowhere interesting.)

    I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning (way too early - about 3:30am for my 7am flight).
    Double edged sword. On the one hand... who wants to get up that early? On the other hand... Disney.

    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 :()
    I have a mental image of you shoving people and sending them staggering into walls and over chairs.

    I was lucky enough to get a row with no one sitting in the middle seat
    Love when that happens. Elbow room!

    I guess the trend now is to save money and remove them :(:(:(.
    Yeah, same up here with WestJet. I guess I can see that from a cost saving point of view, but... not everyone has a smart phone or tablet.

    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.
    Yep. Same with WestJet.
    It doesn't bother me, since now I'm usually downloading my own entertainment anyways, but...

    I give you the BEV LEDGE!
    Huh!

    And yet... My first thought was "How long before they get banned by the airlines... for some safety reason."

    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.
    So... question?
    My neck occasionally bothers me. Up down is usually fine, but left right can hurt. So you didn't crane your neck down, but... didn't you have to crane it to the right, then? And how was it with the glare from the window?
    Or am I missing something?

    On the flight I ended up watching Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, as well as Free Solo.
    Wanna see both of those. :)

    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!
    Thanks for the markups! I apparently suck at that. I found Epcot, DHS and Boardwalk easily enough... then stalled there.

    Oh, and I kept looking and was able to see Universal Studios too!
    I'd definitely never find that!

    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),
    I used Lyft too. Mostly problem free.

    while I didn't take the DME bus, I still used the luggage tag for my checked bag.
    I had no idea you could do that. Huh!

    So, I then hopped back on the "up" escalator, which of course takes you all the way to Level 3...
    :lmao:

    I was looking forward to staying here, because I know Raeven loves this one,
    As did we. :)

    Then, I found out Owner's Locker was in a dispute with Loews Universal hotels about delivery procedures,
    What? Why? You'd think a hotel would encourage that. Wouldn't that service bring more business in?

    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!
    Kari's a sweetheart, isn't she? :goodvibes

    We also got to meet a minion in the lobby, which was funny!
    :laughing: Not something you see every day!


    And... bam! I'm caught up!
     
  • Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    On opening day!?!?!?!?
    Opening hour on opening day! We have an 8am reservation, an 8pm reservation, and for the next day, an 11am reservation. This will come hilariously into play again on the TR!

    What is your specialty?
    (If you don't mind my asking. If you do, please ignore the question.)
    No worries here-I’m a Fire Protection Engineer. Most of the work I do is code consulting, so working with architects or owners to make sure buildings meet the various building codes. I also someone fell into working a lot with hazardous material safety (more overall-like how much you can have in a room without requiring new safety features), which also has me do a lot with higher education. So the conference was the Laboratory Design Conference, which fit perfectly into what I do!

    Double edged sword. On the one hand... who wants to get up that early? On the other hand... Disney.
    Yeah! I wish I could sleep on the plane though!

    Yeah, same up here with WestJet. I guess I can see that from a cost saving point of view, but... not everyone has a smart phone or tablet.
    I know! I have a smart phone but no tablet. I also like to goof on my phone while watching movies-can’t do that now!

    And yet... My first thought was "How long before they get banned by the airlines... for some safety reason.
    Ssshh! The flight attendants thought it was so cool. And they didn’t care if it was already in place during takeoff/landing.

    My neck occasionally bothers me. Up down is usually fine, but left right can hurt. So you didn't crane your neck down, but... didn't you have to crane it to the right, then? And how was it with the glare from the window?
    Or am I missing something?
    Yeah it definitely caused some craning to the side. But not too bad and much better than looking down the whole time. I discovered on my return flight they actually had installed phone holders where the seatback tv would have been, which was helpful to not strain my neck.

    You can still close the window shade with that bevledge (just down to the top of it) so no glare worries!

    What? Why? You'd think a hotel would encourage that. Wouldn't that service bring more business in?
    Yeah I don’t understand it. Loews opinion is they didn’t actually ban it, they just shifted the drop off procedures. But OL said they now don’t give them a loading dock, so they can’t unload from their trucks properly. And Loews sent everything thru the conference center, which charged OL an extra dropoff fee, and charges guests a larger pickup fee, based on the weight of the items!

    After I posted on the DVC threads about it, some people said they still see OLs being delivered to Loews hotels. But the guys I talked to on the phone were still adamant it wasn’t going to work, so I don’t know what is going on!
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Opening hour on opening day!
    :eek: :faint:

    We have an 8am reservation, an 8pm reservation, and for the next day, an 11am reservation. This will come hilariously into play again on the TR!
    :laughing: I bet!

    No worries here-I’m a Fire Protection Engineer. Most of the work I do is code consulting, so working with architects or owners to make sure buildings meet the various building codes. I also someone fell into working a lot with hazardous material safety (more overall-like how much you can have in a room without requiring new safety features), which also has me do a lot with higher education. So the conference was the Laboratory Design Conference, which fit perfectly into what I do!
    That's... actually really interesting! No! Seriously! I'm not kidding, I was just thinking about this, this morning. "I wonder how they figure out what the code is for different things." It stemmed from a conversation we were having about the Boeing Max and how Boeing self-regulates their own safety codes.

    Yeah! I wish I could sleep on the plane though!
    You too? :hug:

    I know! I have a smart phone but no tablet. I also like to goof on my phone while watching movies-can’t do that now!
    So... you gotta buy a tablet, then. :)

    Ssshh! The flight attendants thought it was so cool. And they didn’t care if it was already in place during takeoff/landing.
    Well... I suppose it wouldn't be a big deal if they do that...

    Yeah it definitely caused some craning to the side. But not too bad and much better than looking down the whole time. I discovered on my return flight they actually had installed phone holders where the seatback tv would have been, which was helpful to not strain my neck.
    Ah.

    You can still close the window shade with that bevledge (just down to the top of it) so no glare worries!
    I thought as much... after I posted. :sad2:

    Yeah I don’t understand it. Loews opinion is they didn’t actually ban it, they just shifted the drop off procedures. But OL said they now don’t give them a loading dock, so they can’t unload from their trucks properly. And Loews sent everything thru the conference center, which charged OL an extra dropoff fee, and charges guests a larger pickup fee, based on the weight of the items!

    After I posted on the DVC threads about it, some people said they still see OLs being delivered to Loews hotels. But the guys I talked to on the phone were still adamant it wasn’t going to work, so I don’t know what is going on!
    :sad2:
     

    Cloe Colton

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2018
    I give you the BEV LEDGE!


    I am totally getting one of these!! That is always SO annoying when you need to get up and there's no where to put your drinks!

    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.


    I've never been able to spot WDW! Awesome that you did!


    I was looking forward to staying here, because I know Raeven loves this one, and I was able to get a very good deal.


    Would you recommend the hotel? Have you stayed at any of the other Universal resorts with express pass? I'm looking to do a one night stay at one of them in March and I'm leaning towards RP just because its the cheapest but its not like the others are THAT much more lol definitely curious to hear your thoughts!



     

    lvcourtneyy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2012
    I'm totally ordering that device for the plane! Amazon should prob start paying you commission.

    It's so awesome that you were able to get your job to pay for part of the trip- and to fly in a day early!

    I'm so tempted to book a night or two at a Universal hotel in October but the ones including the express pass are so pricey.
     
  • Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    That's... actually really interesting! No! Seriously! I'm not kidding, I was just thinking about this, this morning. "I wonder how they figure out what the code is for different things." It stemmed from a conversation we were having about the Boeing Max and how Boeing self-regulates their own safety codes.
    Yeah, there are so many specialty engineering disciplines out there. A lot of the time the general architects/engineers will just know about some of the basic requirements, so they hire us to come in, review their designs, sometimes draw up the life safety plans required for the building. Because we deal with the codes day in and day out, we really know them and are much more familiar with all the various details. Like, sometimes I'll be in a meeting, looking at a floor plan that the architect was fine, and I'll just point out - um, that isn't going to work because it violates this code or that code. Or I'll see something they are making overly complicated and I'm like - why don't you do it this way instead? It's fun when I can help their design. Not so much when I have to be the bad guy, but usually I have pretty clear reasons why, so they don't blame me!

    I am totally getting one of these!! That is always SO annoying when you need to get up and there's no where to put your drinks!
    I know! I don't even know what exactly I was searching for on Amazon when it popped up! But I was like - what is this genius idea?

    Would you recommend the hotel? Have you stayed at any of the other Universal resorts with express pass? I'm looking to do a one night stay at one of them in March and I'm leaning towards RP just because its the cheapest but its not like the others are THAT much more lol definitely curious to hear your thoughts!
    Yeah, I think you'd like it. Especially because you like the Poly! It definitely has a tropical South Pacific feel. You can PM me (here or facebook) if you want a tip on a way to get a good deal.

    I'm totally ordering that device for the plane! Amazon should prob start paying you commission.

    It's so awesome that you were able to get your job to pay for part of the trip- and to fly in a day early!

    I'm so tempted to book a night or two at a Universal hotel in October but the ones including the express pass are so pricey.
    I know, right! I'm selling so many of these things!

    The hotels with EP are definitely pricey! I think for October, the EP could be worth it though - but I'm not an expert on USO crowds at all. I'm doing a day at Universal in January, right after NYE but when they still have the Christmas stuff, and I think I'm just going to shell out for an EP. It is so much easier than waiting in the lines, and this way I can really enjoy the park ambiance as well as go on my favorite rides!
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Yeah, there are so many specialty engineering disciplines out there. A lot of the time the general architects/engineers will just know about some of the basic requirements, so they hire us to come in, review their designs, sometimes draw up the life safety plans required for the building. Because we deal with the codes day in and day out, we really know them and are much more familiar with all the various details. Like, sometimes I'll be in a meeting, looking at a floor plan that the architect was fine, and I'll just point out - um, that isn't going to work because it violates this code or that code.


    Or I'll see something they are making overly complicated and I'm like - why don't you do it this way instead?
    :) Nice. Betcha you make friends that way!

    It's fun when I can help their design. Not so much when I have to be the bad guy, but usually I have pretty clear reasons why, so they don't blame me!
    I get that. Don't blame the messenger...
     

    Pluto0809

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2012
    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!
    So insanely jealous! I'm probably not going to get to experience SWGE until next February. I am going down to WDW end of October but Jim isn't coming with me. Since he's such a huge Star Wars fan, I can't in good conscience visit without him. I've decided to skip HS all together since I'll only be there 4 days any ways.

    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!
    Nice! I wish I could get that lucky but probably won't since I work for government.

    I give you the BEV LEDGE!
    I ordered it! I think your advertisement of it though has spread because the price is now $15. Still worth it to someone who likes the window seat and always brings a drink on the plane with her.

    I'd maybe like the Hard Rock Hotel better for location, being right next to the parks, but this one worked out ok)
    Jim and I stayed at the Hard Rock twice and loved it. The 5 minute walk to the parks was so convenient. I think we only took the boat once because it was sitting there waiting for us. I do want to give RPR a try someday but I'll have to convince Jim to switch from HR.
     

    Terra Nova guy

    DIS Dad #811 Newfoundland, Canada
    Joined
    Nov 11, 2014
    So many EPIC trip reports!
    Joining in and hoping to keep up.
    Awesome aerial shots, and thanks for labelling them! I was trying to figure it out before I looked at your notes.
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Hi again, sorry for the long delay in posting - I've been trying to write up my notes before I start to forget things! Also, I think I'm going to alternate days for this one and my December one (which hasn't been updated since the end of January)! So I can try and complete them both!

    And make sure to check out the Index of Epicness (TRs) in the second post - I've added a couple more!

    Day 1 - Universal Studios pre-event

    After dropping our things off in the room (and for me, changing into shorts – so happy to be in the warmth, as LA has actually been having a chillier winter/spring), Kari and I headed over to check-in for the Orlando Informer event. Of course, we did get a bit lost trying to find our way to the boat (I think the room was one of the furthest possible from the boat dock). It’s nice going thru security right there as there was no line!

    It was a relaxing boat ride down the canal. I think I liked those boats more than some of the Disney ones-a good compromise between ambiance (a la the smaller Bay Lake boats) and more capacity (like the Friendship Boats), plus able to hold ECVs like the larger Bay Lake boats.



    And I liked the tree that was over the canal!



    When we got to the main gates, we had a rather long line for check-in, but overall it went ok. And we picked up our credentials




    Oh, and I LOVED this shirt!



    Oh, and this event, if you aren’t familiar with it. Orlando Informer is pretty popular website, providing lots of information on the various parks and things to do in Orlando. A couple times a year they rent out the Universal Parks and host after hours events (some of the first ones were just the Harry Potter lands, but the last several have been the complete parks). The events give you free reign of the parks and very low lines, which is awesome! And, something better than Disneyworld’s After Hours events – you get free food! It does cost money, but pretty much the same as a 1-day park-to-park ticket for Universal. I’ve been wanting to do one of these, but they have always happened a week before or after my trips! So, once I was able to get to arrive in Orlando a couple days early, I took full advantage of the chance to finally do one!



    One of the things they do at the OI Meetup is allow solo adults to ride Pteranodon Flyers! This is a ride at Islands of Adventure where you fly above the treetops. However during normal operations its only available for children, or adults riding with a child (pretty lame in my opinion)! The OI event was allowing adults to ride this by themselves, so I really hoped to get on it. Unfortunately there was a limited number of slots (it’s a very low capacity ride) and despite not handing out the return times until 4:30, they ran out by 5pm. Pretty much, if you aren’t in line about 1 hr before they hand out those return times, you aren’t going to get one.



    So, anyways, after that disappointment, Kari and I headed into Universal Studios (the OI meetup lets you in at 5pm, even though Universal doesn’t close until 9 and Islands closes at 7).




    We headed right to Diagon Alley (one of my favorite parts of the theme park), as we were hungry!



    This time, the OI event included a meal card to give you one quick service meal, one non-alcoholic drink, and one snack before the event. This was because food distribution didn’t start until 1-hour after park close, so it gave us something to fill up our stomaches before then.

    We went to The Leaky Cauldron, and both of us ended up getting fish & chips. (We had hoped Butterbeer would be included with the quick-service meal, but instead it was considered a snack credit, so we skipped it then.) It was good, and I enjoyed getting to hang out in the Leaky Cauldron, which is sooo well themed!



    Honestly, eating in there just made me so excited to think about what we will have in store at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, as I know the Imagineers used this immersion as a baseline for Batuu.

    While we were eating, Su-Lynn and her Chubby Hubby, Steve, were checking in and headed our way. So, time for Dismeet #2 (I’m not counting Steve!), which was awesome! We chatted a bit, but then while they ate their dinner, Kari and I headed to ride Gringotts with the Express Pass from our hotel stay! Love that ride – yes, many portions are screen based, but it still is so well executed and includes set pieces and other effects so it doesn’t really feel that way! There was a bit of a backlog in the line, so it took a bit longer than I would have liked, but that also gave us time to enjoy the amazing queue!



    We finished up and met up with Su-Lynn and Steve, where we tried to decide what to do next. But first, photo proof!



    We ended up deciding to head over to Islands of Adventure, as it had just closed for the day, so only the OI meetup participants would be allowed on the rides. First, we stopped to use up the last on our meal cards (snack + drink), as we couldn’t use them at Islands, since it was closed. Based on location, we ended up going to San Francisco Pastry Co. (I think we originally just wanted water bottles, but figured, hey, why not!)


    Kari and I got the Brookies. Steve got the cheesecake and Su-Lynn got the fruit tart. I think everyone thought things were yummy and a nice boost of sugar!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Then, onto the Hogwarts Express! Only OI meetup people were allowed on the train, so lots of people not doing the event were very confused and annoyed!



    Steve didn’t quite understand that you are supposed to continue going thru the wall! Meanwhile, I decided to take it at a run, which surprised Su-Lynn, who was filming me!



    We just missed the train, so had to wait for the next one.




    We were hoping to get our own compartment, but another couple was with us. Of course, photos had to be taken, including our fun glow wristbands (which acted as the ticket for the event)



    I just love that ride! Yes, it’s not the fastest way from park to park, but it is amazing! And such a savy financial decision by making only people with park-park tickets be able to use it!

    Ok, anyways – we arrived in Hogsmeade, where the free food and drink hadn’t started yet.





    Steve and I decided to go on a Forbidden Journey; that was too intense for the wimps in our group () so Su-Lynn and Kari went off on their own. The line was posted at 40 minutes, but it was about 20 minutes. Of course, not a walk-on, but that queue is also so interesting, it’s worth it, IMHO. Steve and I were also both wearing flip flops, so we realized that wasn’t going to work on the ride (your feet dangle and it throws you all around, including fully upside down for a moment or two), so we ended up sitting on them instead! The TMs all chuckled when they saw us sitting there bare footed and had to make sure we actually had shoes with us! But I’m sure they get that a lot!



    By the time we were finished, it was free food and drink time! Which includes free Butterbeer! (it also includes free water bottles and the CMs were just handing out them to anyone who walked by, whether they wanted one or not! I should have brought a bag, because I could have stocked up for the week!) We got a couple cups for ourselves and the other gals while they made their way back to Hogsmeade. Yummy! But so sweet, I really couldn’t finish a full one! Steve and Su-Lynn made the right choice in sharing one!



    I think we ended up wandering around Hogsmeade a bit, including a stop at Honeydukes for Kari to get some Fizzing Wizzbees. I think even Su-Lynn got suckered into one of those!



    We rode Flight of the Hippogriff. A cute coaster, but not worth the typical waits (it’s like Barnstormer in length).


     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    And then off for a loop around the park. Starting in Jurassic Park (which I think is being converted into Jurassic World).



    There was no wait for the raft ride, but none of us really wanted to get soaking wet, so we walked past that one. (Also, this was the first time Steve realized it actually was a water ride…don’t know what he thought it was beforehand?) We skipped the line for the Rapter encounter because it looked longer (also, I get nightmares from the movies – no way I’m meeting a physical Raptor). At one point in the land, there was a Team Member who set a trap for any guests not paying attention! As one guy started to walk into the loop, she started screaming “watch out” and made him jump! It was actually hilarious!



    And then down to the Jurassic Park restaurant, where they had some yummy roasted foods. (I guess in previous OI events it was buffets around the park; this time it was standard QS food but a more limited menu.) We ended up sharing 2 plates – one with ribs/chicken/sides, and Su-Lynn and Steve got another thing of ribs instead of chicken. It was actually very good, and a nice relaxing time! That QS location also looks super cool, exactly like the cafeteria in Jurassic Park!



    In the cartoon area there were various games, which were on free play. Su-Lynn and I competed in a wack-a-mole, which she totally won! Then Steve and Kari caught up to us and all 3 of them played while I videoed. Su-Lynn won again! She needs to play more when you can actually win prizes!



    (make sure you watch until the end for Kari's reaction!)



    Into the Comic area, which was cool at night (this was the first time I was in the Universal Orlando parks after dark, as on my previous visit we left around 5pm). And of course we had to do a selfie with Captain America! (This will become a running theme for the Epic Trip; maybe I’ll explain it another time, but this day is getting long enough!)



    Su-Lynn, Steve and I rode Spiderman, which really is an excellent ride (it can result in some motion sickness though, so you have to be careful riding it). It truly incorporates the screens in the ride and makes it feel like you are defying gravity!



    On our way out we saw Spiderman meeting (without a line). I, of course, decided to be my awkward self, so here is a summary of our interaction:
    Lesley: “I saw your.. um, today, um… your Miles”
    Spiderman: “Um… My what?”
    Lesley: “Oh, nevermind. I suck at this”
    Spiderman: “No, no. we are going to figure this out. What were you trying to say?”
    Lesley: “Um, … Spiderverse”
    Spiderman: “Oh! You got introduced to my pal, Miles Morales!”
    Lesley: “YES! That’s what I meant”
    Spiderman: “He’s a great guy, and you must also have seen my other friends”
    Lesley: “Yes, also Gwen”
    Spiderman: “She’s great… ok, what about a photo” (and I can only imagine – let me get rid of this weirdo!



    Coming up - Kari and I embrace our inner children with simple rides, ice cream binges, and falling asleep hard!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Well this is the only picture I have to contribute to this update....

    It was awesome of Lesley to allow me to crash in her hotel room and a great way to kick off this trip...definitely a pretty cool gal :wave2:
    It was awesome to meet you too and have someone to hang out with during the evening!

    So insanely jealous! I'm probably not going to get to experience SWGE until next February. I am going down to WDW end of October but Jim isn't coming with me. Since he's such a huge Star Wars fan, I can't in good conscience visit without him. I've decided to skip HS all together since I'll only be there 4 days any ways.
    Yeah, it looks soo cool, that probably skipping DHS altogether is the best way to avoid "accidentally" walking in there!

    So many EPIC trip reports!
    Joining in and hoping to keep up.
    Awesome aerial shots, and thanks for labelling them! I was trying to figure it out before I looked at your notes.
    Welcome to the party!
     



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