Four Yorkshire folk on t'road - Pre Trip

dixonsontour

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Glad to see you all enjoyed yachtsman - it's the first signature dining we are trying.

Good to see the colouring things and a paint your own dessert which will be right up my 4 yr olds street.
 

VailaTigger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Absolutely loving this trip report! :thumbsup2

Really looking forward to the next installment, and feeling even more guilty that I've only written 2 days of mine and we got home 5 months ago... :rolleyes1
 

ely3857

<font color=ff3300>Would love to be a Librarian -
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Hmmm steak, nom nom nom!

Illuminations is stunning.
 
  • jamjar84

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 6, 2007
    I've just caught up with your report, it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Your kids are beautiful. :) Can't wait to hear the rest.

    JA x
     

    Pugsly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 8, 2002
    Sounds like an all together-perfectly relaxing day!

    Love the pic of Caroline and kids outside of the Yacht Club!
     

    PudseyChancer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2007
    Today the plan was to let the kids chose where we went, but if I'm being honest, the frantic nature of the holiday was beginning to catch up on us, so the anticipated early start went out the the window as none of us woke up until 8.30am. After a leisurely breakfast of toast (made with Italian bread - absolutely scrummy!) we decided to go to Animal Kingdom in anticipation of picking up a couple of the shows that Isabelle had wanted to see, she had chosen an Animal Kingdom t-shirt that she was looking forward to wearing, Billy was unusually co-operative and had no problems with Isabelle's suggestion.


    Looking forward to Animal Kingdom...

    Once Caroline and I had picked ourselves up off the floor, we walked down to the bus stop and there were loads of people waiting, far and away more people than we had seen at any other time in our holiday at OKW, buses for the parks were turning up regularly, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, anywhere but Animal Kingdom. To cut a long story short, we waited for about an hour, at which point I flagged down a passing Disney employee and asked him to ring in and see what the problem was (he was monitoring the queues at the bus stops), he radio'd in and two buses for AK promptly turned up. This was unusual as the bus service had been first class, and over the period of the holiday, been quite consistent and reliable, so I guess this was just an off day.

    I don't know whether today's date was the first day of a pricing change, but the park was absolutely heaving! We made our way over to the Finding Nemo show just in time for the start, and I have to say that I wasn't particularly impressed, the kids and Caroline loved it, but I thought the fact that you could see the people operating the characters, and indeed speaking for them, I thought spoilt it - my opinion being that for some kids, it would have taken away the 'believability' - though not for the the younger kids in the audience, as they loved it. Maybe it's just me being a cynic. We exited the show and made our way over to Expedition Everest, where Caroline and Isabelle got fast passes - I'd been on it before and was happy to look after Billy whilst the girls went on it.


    Caroline was just out of shot, and not as excited at the prospect of conquering this particular ride...

    We made our way over to Yak and Yeti's for a counter service lunch, Asian chicken sandwich (which wouldn't have stood up to that description in the Court of law, I've had more Asian fish and chips than that sandwich), sweet and sour pork ( a poor choice from Caroline seeing as we were at Nine Dragons that evening!), a cheeseburger for Billy and chicken bites for Isabelle. Nothing spectacular if I'm being perfectly honest, as we all sampled bits of each others lunch.

    Billy and I nipped off for an ice cream whilst the girls went on the ride, this was truly the must-do ride of the park as it seemed like everyone was jostling for the best view point for the ride, but I used Bill's ice cream eating technique (the sort of technique that involves ice cream covering anything in a five yard radius) to gain enough room to swing a cat, or in our case, a mist spraying fan. The girls disembarked suitably impressed (read Isabelle), and suitably terrified (read Caroline), and as the heat was again punishing, we decided to cut our losses as the park was absolutely packed, and retreat to the relative calm of the pool, after just over two hours in the park.


    A recurring theme towards the end of the holiday, packed parks, boiling sun meant that stamina levels were taking a real hammering...

    The bus back was a lot more prompt than it was on the way out, and we were soon practicing various swimming, diving, belly-flopping routines in the warm Florida sun.

    After a quick shower and change we were back on our travels to Epcot, Nine Dragons was the first restaurant that I'd pre-booked that wasn't interested in any reservation number and showed us straight to the table. As we walked in I heard another couple discussing whether or not to go in for some food but declined on the argument that it "was nothing that we couldn't get back home" - which would surely apply to the majority of restaurants at WDW I would have thought. Anyway, the Chinese server nearly fell over when we asked him for a Chinese beer rather than an American one, apparently the demand is more for American draught beer which is a shame, as anyone who has had Tsingtao beer can vouch. Caroline and I started by sharing the chicken dumplings which came with a really tasty sauce for dipping, I had the Kung Pao chicken (very spicy!), Caroline had the noodle platter (very fiddly!), the kids had vegetable rolls, sweet and sour chicken for Billy, and Isabelle had the kids platter which had a taste of everything. Pretty much all the desserts were voted down, the ginger ice cream and coconut pudding were not hits, but I quite liked my ginger pudding. We contributed $37 for eating beyond the dining plan, and desserts excepted, we were all really happy with the meal, more so because it was a departure from what we had been eating previously on the dining plan, the service was excellent, probably towards the higher end of what we had experienced, and was reflected in the tip that we left.


    The sun was setting as we walked round after our meal, very picturesque

    We decided to walk off our tea and I called in the American Pavilion and checked out the shop to see if there was any more American garnish I could cram into the old suitcase, but whilst there were plenty of temptations, none were taken up, there were a couple of t-shirts that I fancied but on the strength of the lure of Universal Studios goodies on the horizon, I declined. We finally staggered back to the bus with everyone complaining about aching feet and legs, and as a consequence, we were all in the land of nod not much after 10pm, right party of rock stars, aren't we?
     
  • PudseyChancer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2007
    Today was the day as far as I was concerned, much as I love Disney and the parks, I'd begun to get a little tired and fancied something different, our tickets for Universal had been burning a hole in my pocket, so I was walking with a spring in my step to the taxi that was taking us to Universal. I knew it was going to be a great day when the conversation with the driver turned to football, and by one of those strange quirks of fate, the driver claimed to be a Leeds fan also, my mild suspicion of this remarkable coincidence evaporated when he excitedly reminded me of our glorious defeat of Manchester United last season, and his critique of Jermaine Beckford's form since leaving Leeds to join Everton, along with his knowledge of results and performances over the past couple of years. Little things please little minds, I know, but the tip was inflated accordingly.

    We exchanged our vouchers for tickets and went against the grain and headed over to Spider-Man, where we were sidetracked by a photo opportunity with the webslinger before jumping on the ride, this is my favourite ride in Orlando and is a timeless classic, though the violent actions scared Billy and he was less than impressed when we disembarked - I would hazard a guess that next time we come Billy will be a bit more confident on rides such as this, and will enjoy them a lot more.


    It wasn't clear who was riding shotgun in this particular motor

    The hot weather meant that before we could even consider going over to the WWOHP a good soaking was required, and Billy was surprisingly open to going on Dudley Do-Rights, a superb ride which we did well to get just soaked on, there were the usual bandit's delivering their dousing's just before the disembarking, but I have a good memory when wronged, should I ever bump into that Red Sox fan again on any of my future American travels, he'd better watch out!!!


    Isabelle was determined to prove that it was possible to get even more soaked

    To ensure that we were completely refreshed, a ride on Popeye's water ride was called for, and as usual, a quicker option would be to just jump in the water and get the soaking over and done with, the kids enjoyment was only enhanced by seeing the state of others who'd suffered misfortune at some point or other on their way round.

    At this point we wandered round to WWOHP, trying not to squelch in unison, predictably this part was absolutely rammed, the queues for the rides and the shops were horrendous, so we had a good look round, took a few photo's and resolved to come straight into this part of the park first tomorrow morning. We tried some Butterbeer (very nice, though too sweet to drink too much of) and some Pumpkin drink, (bizarre taste!) and enjoyed taking in the detail of such a fantastically themed area. Having heard various criticisms of WWOHP (expecially from the Dis podcast team), I have to say that I am glad I didn't let it put me off going, I think Universal have done an excellent job with it, and would imagine that in the course of time, various additions will be made to enhance it's appeal.

    We then wandered through to Seuss Landing, where we queued to go on The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, which gives a great view of the whole of Islands of Adventure, and then had a go on the Carousel, followed up by a couple of turns on One Fish, Two Fish. I don't think Billy has read the Cat in the Hat or had exposure to Dr Seuss's books, but he absolutely loved it, this area catered much more to his tolerence for rides, and his face on the Cat in the Hat ride was priceless, he laughed the whole way round, and was in awe of some of the effects, especially Thing One and Thing Two. We bought a couple of t-shirts for the kids and I had intended walking round to get a burger from Captain America's opposite the Spider-Man ride, as they are superb, but we fell into lazy mode and went into Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous, we sure paid for it as the food was very poor, the worst by a country mile whilst we were in Florida, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

    We then tried to exit the park, but foolishly via the shop near the entrance, here the kids saw the Harry Potter wands, and both made it perfectly clear that not getting one each would be an acceptable outcome, so another trip to the cash register and we were on our way. I have to say that the detail on the wands is very good, and as both have been used on a daily basis since our return, it's not a purchase that I resent! We continued our way round to Universal Studios and quickly racked up Jimmy Neutron and Shrek, both experiences were enhanced by bumping into Spongebob and Donkey at the the relative rides, Donkey was lucky to escape without a clip round the ear after a quip too far at Leeds' expense!


    I have to admit to being mildly jealous of this photo, and have vowed to get my photo taken with Spongebob next visit!

    I thought better of trying the Jaws ride given Billy's fragile confidence thus far on water rides, and instead headed over to Men in Black, myself and Isabelle then followed this with the Simpson's ride - which I have to say, as a result of Homer's many quips is fast becoming one of my favourite rides.

    Our long day was catching up with us so we headed out of the parks and got a taxi back down to Old Key West, within ten minutes of arriving back we were diving in the pool - I can't overstate how valuable the location of our room was, it was so convenient.


    "No, this isn't the taxi home!!!"

    Caroline and the kids wanted to head out to Downtown Disney to buy various gifts for the folks back home, I stayed back at the room to catch up on the College football matches that were on pretty much every sports channel, and to make some notes for the trip reports. The kids and Caroline returned home later, suitably shopped out and shattered, and after reviewing the purchases, we were all soon ready for bed. Looking back, going to Universal was a real breath of fresh air, it has a totally different vibe to Disney and the rides are of a different intensity - as ever, Billy was just a case of seeing what he could cope with, but Isabelle loved it and was really looking forward to going back the following day.
     

    PoppyAnna

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2006
    US/IOW are very popular in our house, partularly with DH, he could easily do a non Disney trip - I love Spiderman and the girls loved everything Suess! Sorry to hear about the rubbish meal but doesn't sound like it spoilt your day!
    Another great day:thumbsup2
     

    PJB71

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2009
    I agree with you Dave, we always think IOA/Universal make a nice change:thumbsup2

    Poor Billy looks shattered in some of those pics:lmao:
     
  • PudseyChancer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2007
    Another nice and early start this morning as we were on for our second day of Universal, the kids were up and lively and proudly wore their 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' t-shirts that we'd bought the previous day, you see loads of kids wearing them out and about in Florida, and it raises a smile every time I see them - they certainly suit Isabelle and Billy!


    All smiles at the thought of another day at Universal

    We arrived at Universal prior to nine and the surge towards WWOHP was already under way, literally everyone around at this time was heading (quickly) there. We joined the moving masses and headed through to the Forbidden Journey ride - making our way through the castle was brilliant - the detail, special effects and theming were just magnificent. I'll say it again, I'm so glad I ignored the negative comments about WWOHP, as I just don't get them at all, Universal have done a stunning job. We came out suitably impressed and Billy and Caroline rode the Hippogriff ride, we had a look round the sweet shop and bought some goodies, though the jelly beans are worse than revels when playing the random selection game, especially as there are some pepper flavoured beans in there as well!!! We slowly wandered round taking in all the detail, (I loved the moving poster from the Prisoner of Azkaban), and made our way back to the Dr Seuss area of the park. I certainly hope that they add to the WWOHP as there is certainly scope to do so, it's a massively popular brand and Universal I feel could really enhance it if they continue in the same vein. We all are looking forward to going back.

    We then re-rode the rides in Dr Seuss land before making our way over to pick up some further souvenirs of the kids encounter with Spider-Man, before making our way over to Universal Studio's as this had more rides that appealed to the kids - though once again we stopped at the shop on the way out and bought some more Harry Potter goodies, and some further presents for Billy and Isabelle's friends back home. On the way across, we decided to go to the Nascar grille for lunch after we had done what we wanted to do at the Studio's. We spent some time walking round and looking in the shops, then headed over to Men In Black which the kids had enjoyed the previous day, I planned to go on the Simpson's again but the queue was massive, so I had a look round the Kwik-E-Mart and decided against buying anything, much to my later regret.


    One of the highlights of the whole holiday was the kids interaction with the various characters

    We took advantage of a photo opportunity with the characters from Madagascar before heading onto ET - much to our shame the kids have never seen this film, and they were suitably impressed, especially when they were greeted at the end of the ride - Billy was especially impressed with getting to ride on a grown up bike!

    Billy's day was about to get ten times better as we made our way over to see his favourite character - Barney.


    Meeting his hero

    His face was an absolute picture and he loved the show, and the play area afterwards was a real hit with him, we were glad that he enjoyed it so much, especially as at certain times over the past few days he'd been really good having been on rides that had been on or above his limit.


    One of the best photo's of the whole trip - the little fella having the time of his life

    We probably spent about an hour in this area, it would have been nice to get Billy something decent as a memento but he'd pretty much got all the merchandise that they stocked, so he had to put up with a Barney wristband with his name on. The heat had again been turned up a notch and the kids were complaining about being hungry, so we decided to go to Nascar grille.

    The restaurant certainly grabbed the kids attention with decor, there were plenty of screens showing all sorts of sports as well, so I wasn't complaining! I had the boneless wings appetiser which I shared with Caroline, I followed this up with a Daytona Chilli Burger which was fantastic, loads of jalapenos which where fresh and fiery, Caroline had the pulled pork sandwich, Isabelle had a cheeseburger and Billy had the biggest hot dog you've ever seen. Caroline and I accompanied our dinner with two massive beers,


    This was Caroline's second 32oz of beer, that's right, second

    though I had to go one step further and have mine served in a Nascar Grille oil can, well, it'd've been rude not to!


    You'll have someone's eye out with that!!!

    We were absolutely stuffed after our dinner, the portions were huge and the burgers tasted a lot better than we had encountered at Disney, Isabelle especially enjoyed this meal as she got a much bigger portion than she had been getting on the dining plan. This meal kind of opened our eyes in relation to the dining plan, the bill came and was rounded up to $100 with the tip, which we thought was good value for the meal that we'd had, especially as we'd ordered a couple more beers in the meantime. We had a look through the shop and then made our way to the taxi to get back to OKW, where surprise, surprise, we ended up back in the pool.

    The plan for the evening was to head over to Port Orleans Riverside to catch the first show of the weekend of 'Yee-ha Bob', whose piano shows are legendary, and great fun. Our luck was in as we were able to get a table right at the heart of the action, and Bob was on form, it's a real laugh and he certainly puts together a good evening of entertainment. It was one of the rare occasions where we were able to have a good few drinks, much needed in case you get called up to take part in the proceedings, this helped save my embarrassment as the evening progressed, Billy had spilt some of his coke which went all over the seat I was sitting on, having had a few beers and then moved onto the bourbon, I was blissfully unaware of the suspiciously placed wet patch all over my backside, thinking back it did make me wonder why no-one was willing to tag on the back of me whilst doing the conga!


    Hitting the high notes...

    We all had a great evening, Billy was very tired early on but still got involved in the songs and the games meaning we were able to stay out a lot later than we intended, eventually getting the taxi back to OKW, but not before the kids had got signed photo's and a CD from Bob, who impressed Isabelle by remembering her name from when she had participated earlier on in the evening.


    A final photo with Bob

    It was a great end to a fantastic day, probably one of the best of the holiday as it included something for everyone, even if I did have a wet backside for the majority of the evening.
     

    Alibaba

    Ali in Wonderland
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    What another wonderful day, never knew about yehaw bob (sp). Will deffo try and check him out.
    Love your Universal Reviews, never really fancied it before but will certainly be on our list when Dan is a little older.

    Many Thanks for a wonderful trip report.

    Ali
     

    PudseyChancer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2007
    What another wonderful day, never knew about yehaw bob (sp). Will deffo try and check him out.
    Love your Universal Reviews, never really fancied it before but will certainly be on our list when Dan is a little older.

    Many Thanks for a wonderful trip report.

    Ali
    Yee-ha (I don't know how to spell it either! :rolleyes1) Bob is brilliant entertainment, loads of fun, I'd definitely recommend it. We'll be going back to see him next time as well! :thumbsup2

    Another great day Dave:thumbsup2

    Fancy blaming poor Billy for a "wet backside":rolleyes1:rolleyes1
    Don't know what you mean??!!! I always apportion blame fairly!!!
     

    PudseyChancer

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 6, 2007
    Today was an unusual last full day, we'd asked the kids if they wanted to do anything in particular and they basically wanted a day in the pool - the weather over the two weeks had really added to the challenge of a busy Orlando holiday and they were very tired. Speaking of the weather, today was the first day that you could describe it as overcast, there were plenty of clouds around but the kids were adamant that it was to be the pool. We did however, have one task planned, prior to the trip I had discussed DVC with Caroline, who was sceptical to say the least, having never been to Orlando she wasn't sure that such a big commitment was one that she could agree to. The previous evening we had bumped into my friend Mark, who was also staying at Old Key West, and he basically sold DVC to Caroline without me having to say a word, he'd been on the DVC tour and was suitably impressed, and despite having not bought into it himself, intended to go away and 'do the maths'.

    We'd been cross-sold DVC whilst visiting Epcot previously by a cast member, so took up the option by ringing and booking an appointment for today, and were picked up and driven over to Saratoga Springs. We had a good look around SSR and to be perfectly honest, weren't that impressed - this pleased us as it had been a straight choice between OKW and SSR when it came to booking the holiday, I guess part of the issue was that I couldn't particularly place the theme - the only Saratoga I had been aware of previously was the battle in which the American's forced the retreat of the British in the war for Independence back in the 1700's, and I doubted that even the Disney magic touch could 'dumb down' the images associated with a battlefield! I appreciate that this is only my view, but OKW, being surrounded by lush greenery has the unique feel of a 'getaway' within WDW, something which has immense value when you just want to relax, a fact that was borne out by the huge amount of time we spent relaxing at the resort, I didn't get that vibe from SSR at all.

    After we'd dropped Isabelle and Billy at the play centre, we met up with Tony, the DVC rep who was going to take us through the details, I think he cottoned on fairly quickly that it was Caroline that was going to be the hard sell, and he directed a lot of the questions at her. The chance to look at some of the units was quite handy, the layout for the new Hawaii resort looks pretty spectacular, and it was handy to get to see the difference between the studio's and one bedroom apartments, the room at Animal Kingdom looked quite good, very detailed. The difference between that and BLT couldn't have been more clear, especially when being able to walk directly between the two, I would have said before this tour that BLT would not have been interesting to me one bit, but being able to walk around the room and see the level of detail, it was very impressive, as were the Treehouse villa's which lended themselves to a big family holiday, something that appeals to us. When we realised the full extent of the options at both the Disney parks and then elsewhere around the US, our minds were pretty much made up, it was then a case of deciding how many points and where we would base ourselves, we ended up deciding on Bay Lake Towers, neither Saratoga Springs or Animal Kingdom appealed to us that much, and the difference in annual fees made BLT the ultimate winner. So we're now DVC members, and very, very pleased!

    I have to say that at no point were we hassled or given the hard sell, and we got some extra benefits that I'll maybe reveal when I do our next trip report - it feels great to be able to say that we can now look forward to plenty more family holidays, staying in a better quality of resort than we would normally have considered. On our way out, Tony shook our hands and congratulated us, and as Isabelle walked out he said "Isabelle, you and Billy will remember this day for the rest of your lives!", cheesy maybe, but it added a little spring to our step as we headed back to OKW - even the rain that had suddenly started bouncing down couldn't spoil our mood!

    We headed back to the pool once the rain had stopped and chilled out, Billy, in the space of two weeks of this holiday has gone from being scared of the pool to jumping in to the shallow end, he's a lot more confident and has really enjoyed the benefit of being able to spend so much time in the water. A couple of hours soon passed and we were on our way over to Fort Wilderness, for our evening meal at the Hoop-De-Doo Review, despite having visited WDW several times, I didn't really know too much about FW, I was amazed at how vast the area is here, and was totally unprepared for the journey down to Pioneer Hall.


    At the back of the hall, but it didn't deter from the experience

    We were slightly late and they were just about dishing out the starters, which was cornbread and salad, we had a couple of beers which were refilled just in time for the chicken, ribs, corn, mashed potato and barbecued beans, dessert was a fantastic strawberry shortcake - the atmosphere was loud, fun and extremely entertaining. I'm not a massive fan of shows but this was excellent, I loved the interraction with the crowd and we had the pleasure of Six Bits Slocum visiting us at our table, the kids were in their element.


    The food wasn't the best, but the chicken definitely got the gaffers approval

    If I was being totally honest, the show and entertainment was superb, the food wasn't particularly the best, though the fact that the meal included beer was a bit of a bonus, and I was disappointed when the show ended, it was a lot of fun.


    Can't take her anywhere!

    We had decided to get the boat over to MK and snatch a last couple of rides before heading back to our room, this of course gave us a fantastic view of BLT in the dusk, all lit up and looking particularly impressive - we must have sickened our fellow passengers with our immovable grins!

    Billy wanted to do the Peter Pan ride one last time, and we queued about 40 mins for this, Isabelle had wanted to do Winnie the Pooh but the ride was closed for some reason, so we made do with the spinning teacups instead, this was our last ride of the holiday and a good one, as we were all together in the ride, laughing as we span round a little too fast for our bellies, still full up from all the strawberry cheesecake! We made our way back through the packed crowds assembled for the evenings fireworks, and stopped off on Main Street to get some sweets with our remaining snack credits, and then wandered over to get the bus back to OKW. The kids realised that this was their last time at a park on the holiday, and were waving to various people and rides as we left, but were already talking about what we were going to do on our next visit. Back at the room the kids were soon asleep, so Caroline and myself packed up the suitcases as best we could, before tidying the room and getting it as ready as possible for the morning. We polished off the remaining holiday drinks that we had in the room, and laid back on the bed and chatted about our holiday - it had far surpassed our expectations and had been a real boost for us all, especially as the kids had not expected it at all.

    It was perhaps the first time I had actually enjoyed my last night of a Florida holiday.
     

    ely3857

    <font color=ff3300>Would love to be a Librarian -
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2005
    Fabulous last day, always softens the blow of knowing there are return trips in the offing!
     

    SusanEllen

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2004
    Let's swing those napkins and strum the spoons down the washboards! Another family of Hoop Dee Doo fans!!

    Thank you very, very much for sharing your holiday in such vibrant detail. I would go on about what a lovely family you have, but you already know that. Please, tell them I thought they were very well behaved (even Caroline) and I thank them, too, for letting us in on your vacation fun.
     

    florida sun

    Mrs Christopher Eccleston wannabe!
    Moderator
    Joined
    May 2, 2004
    Fantastic report Dave, really enjoyed reading it and looking at your fantastic pictures, lovely family you have, and thank you for sharing your holiday with us.:goodvibes
     



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