My UO, DC, AQ, & KSC Pre-trip report

pattyw

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Sounds like you had a fabulous time at UO! Can't wait to hear about Se World. We usually get annual passes and go a few times in a year and then take a year or so off. It's time to get them again!! I do miss it! Love Atlantis!!
 

CoachZ

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
Friday June 8 continued ....
Prior to our trip I comparison shopped a few of the rental car agencies near UO. Budget at the Holiday Inn on Kirkman had the best price, so I booked our car via Budget. Another perk was they would pick us up at RP and take us to their office. We had a pick up time of 2:30pm, I had scheduled this time that morning. Budget was right on time and even called me when they were on their way. I was certainly surprised when the employee showed up in a Ford Explorer and told me this was our car! I had rented an intermediate sized car, this was definitely an upgrade!!
After a short ride to the Budget office, I signed the paperwork and we were on our way!
I called my car insurance agent prior to our trip to ask if I was totally covered driving a rental car. She told me not to take out any additional insurance and to just carry my insurance card with me. This saved a lot of time at the car agency counter. I just told the employee I didn’t need any additional insurance per my insurance company. I’m sure this helped us get out of there quickly!!
The Budget employee even helped us with directions to get to I Drive. I thought we’d drive it to our Seaworld hotel to see what was around us. Plus I wanted to avoid I 4!
We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at Seaworld right at 3pm. Check in was a breeze and our room was ready! I had requested a view of Seaworld and this time my request was honored!! See photo below.
Next up our first night by Seaworld & Discovery Cove.
 

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CoachZ

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
June 8 continued. . . Once we were all settled into our Seaworld hotel we were getting hungry. It had started to rain so we decided to get take out from the Buffalo Wild Wings in front of the hotel. I also did some laundry and we decided to go to bed early since we had to get up early for Discovery Cove the next day.
We woke up early in order to be at Discovery Cove by 7:15am. I had read this advice on Disboards and it would help us get an early dolphin swim. It was great advice because we were able to schedule our dolphin swim for 8:40am. This gave us time to eat breakfast, get our gear and locker, and apply the dolphin safe sunscreen.
Once we were all set we walked over by the dolphin lagoon to see the dolphins. We found a disability viewing area and were able to walk down to a glass viewing point. A dolphin surfaced right in front of us!! This made us all very excited!!
Soon it was time to go check in for our dolphin swim. It was here that I had to fill out additional paperwork, in addition to the authorization to treat and photo release paperwork I had brought with us. Soon we were heading to the water to meet “our dolphin”.
Once we got into the dolphin lagoon, wow was the water cold, we were given some instructions on what to do and what not to do. Soon we met Aries our 5 year old dolphin. In our group of 8, we all got to touch Aries as she swam passed and ask questions about dolphins. We all got an opportunity to have Aries place her nose in our hands for a kiss, and then we each swam out to deeper water for Aries to swim us back to shallow water.
Before we knew it our dolphin swim was over. The time we got with the dolphin went by fast, unfortunately!!
Next us the rest of our day at Discovery Cove. . .
 

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  • pattyw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2008
    I love Discovery Cove! So beautiful and relaxing!! We've done it twice- but want to go back! Nice dolphin picture!
     

    tink1957

    Proud Redhead
    Joined
    May 18, 2008
    Love the dolphin pics :thumbsup2

    We really enjoyed our day at DC too but it was also the most exhausting time we had on our 14 day trip...must be all the swimming combined with unlimited beer :laughing: DD wants to go back on our next trip but I have to lose a few pounds and get in shape before we return.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 9 Discovery Cove continued. . .
    After our dolphin swim we went to the bird aviary to feed the birds. Even at about 9:30the birds didn’t seem hungry or as numerous as the were on my previous visit. We still found a few that would land on us and eat from the small bird food cups.
    After the aviary we went to the lazy river which had an entrance from the aviary. For the remainder of our time at Discovery Cove we either floated the lazy river or snorkeled in the grand reef.
    We did see Guy Harvey doing an interview in the park today and were told he would be doing a meet and greet at Seaworld this afternoon.
    A few positive differences I noticed from my first trip: One breakfast is now provided, two the park has added additional areas like a larger grand reef and lazy river, and unlimited snacks and drinks throughout the day.
    A few negative differences I noticed from my first visit: one we were not given a complimentary photo upon entering the park, two it seemed more crowded then my last visit, three some of the food items listed on the Discovery Cove website weren’t available, and also it seemed like the water had more debris in it. Also the last time I visited the park was owned by Anheuser Busch.
    Don’t get me wrong will still had an excellent time!! Just wanted to make sure I shared the differences.
    Up next our evening meal and Seaworld roller coasters. . .
     
  • CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 9 continued . . .
    About 4:45 we decided we were ready to get cleaned up and head back to our hotel. Discovery Cove provides showers, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc to get cleaned up after your day at the park. Before we left we bought the picture and Blu Ray package of our dolphin swim experience. Since we were staying at a Seaworld partner hotel we were given a discount on our photo package from the concierge. It’s only 10% but any little bit helps!
    We decided to get carry out pizza from Uno and go back to our room to have dinner and relax. After picking up dinner and relaxing at our hotel we headed over to Seaworld to ride the roller coasters and take advantage of the quick que passes we were also given by the concierge. We rode Manta first and loved it!!! It ranks right up there with Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit!!! Love the airtime of Manta so much we rode it at least three other times this trip!!
    After we rode Manta we headed to Kraken. The VR cases are on about half of the rows but weren’t in use while we were there. We were totally fine with this. Kraken was okay but definitely no Manta!!
    We wanted to go back for another ride on Manta, but there was lightning in the area so the rides were shut down. It was okay because we were tired and had to get up early for Kennedy Space Center the next day.
    I’m trying to post pictures with each update, however I keep getting an error message that the file is too larger. I’ll keep trying though.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 10 Kennedy Space Center. . .
    Today we got up early again so we could leave our hotel by 7:45 for the drive to KSC. Once we were ready we headed down to have breakfast that was included at the Holiday Inn Express at Seaworld. The breakfast was actually above average. Many times continental breakfast is just cereal and danishes. Not this one! This one had eggs, omelets, several different breakfast meats, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, bagels, cereals, various juices, milk, and coffee. So after a heart breakfast we were ready for our next adventure.
    I had been to KSC before and it wasn’t the best experience. It rained the entire time I was there and the mosquitoes were terrible. Thankfully today wasn’t raining!!
    Once we arrived at KSC, it’s about an hour drive from Orlando, we ran into an issue at the entrance. I had purchased our tickets from Undercover Tourist and the security employee sent me over to Will Call to exchange what she thought were vouchers in for actual tickets. The lady at Will Call told me we were fine and to go back over to get in line. Thankfully I knew the employee at the entrance had made a mistake and I told the boys to stay in line just passed security. Once I left Will Call I told the employee Will Call said my tickets were fine and we were able to enter.
    Once inside we tried to catch on of the IMAX movies but they weren’t running until 10am, so we hopped in line for the bus tour.
    I had read to sit on the right side of the bus during the tour, so we did. The bus tour takes you to see the various launching sits. Some of the buildings are huge!! One has such large garage doors that the Statue of Liberty would fit inside!! After touring the launch sites from the bus, the first stop is at the Apollo/Saturn Center. Here you’ll see an introductory video and a launch experience. There was also an Apollo 11 experience. We spent a little more than and hour here but also had a snack.
    Then we boarded a different bus and headed back to the main visitors center. Next we headed to Atlantis Center for the Space Shuttle video and to ride the launch experience. We also had lunch and toured the Rocket Garden and Astronaut Memorial. Every time we would try to catch once of the IMAX movies, we would just miss it.
    We were getting tired and hot so we decided to head back to Orlando. We had a relaxing night tonight and watched the Electric Ocean fireworks from our window.
    One bit of advice . . . make sure you have about $11 in small bills or change for the tolls out to KSC and back.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    You and the boys had great days doing all of this

    Which one was your favorite?
    That’s a hard question to answer MAC!! Each day was a new and exciting adventure!! We enjoyed each park so much!! I can tell you that Volcano Bay blew away any other water park we have been to!! Aquatica definitely can’t hold a candle to VB!! If I had to pick just one, I’d have to say IOA was our favorite!! I think it’s a good mix of thrill rides, simulators, and water rides.
     
  • CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 11 was our day for Aquatica. We had gotten up early the last two days, so today we planned to sleep in. We arrived at the park about 10:30am and it was already busy. We missed the concierge so no quick que passes for today.
    My plan for today was to take it easy. The boys still rode quite a few of the rides. I waited for them at the ride exit and just watch. They rode the Dolphin Plunge and Tassie Twister. Then we headed over toward the new Ray Rush. The boys said the line was moving so slow that the skipped it and rode Walhalla Wave instead. Then they rode Whanau Way and Omaka Rocka. Then we all rode Roa Rapids and then the boys rode Taumata Racer. Next we checked on the line for Ray Rush and it was still long so we headed over for Loggerhead Lane to float. After that we called it a day. We did eat lunch at Waterstomes Grill at some point.
    I did utilize the cashless wrist band at Aquatic today. They did not have a way to add my Partner Hotel Discount so I was told to just tell the cashier I had it. Telling the employee I had the discount didn’t work at all, so I had to carry the discount card with me.
    We headed back to our hotel to rest. A little while later we got cleaned up and headed to dinner at Miller’s Ale House on I Drive. Dinner was good and we planned to go to Seaworld afterwards, however it started to rain so we just stayed in.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 12 Airboat ride and Outlet Mall . . .
    Today we had a 9am airboat ride scheduled, so we were up fairly early. We had breakfast at our hotel and headed out to the Kissimmee area to Spirit of the Swamp. The reason I chose this airboat company was TripAdvisor reviews, the boat only held six people, and they had headsets so we could communicate.
    We did the 90 minute tour. Our captain worked hard to find us some alligators. We did see a few of size, but most of them had their bodies submerged in the water and we only saw the gator’s nose or head. We did see about five much smaller gators and a lot of different bird species.
    It was a fun experience and I will do it again just at a different time of year when the weather is cooler.
    After our airboat ride we headed to the outlet mall on Vineland. We only hit a few stores the boys like and had lunch. We shopped at Columbia, Under Armour, Nike, Hurley, and North Face. We had lunch at A&W.
    After this adventure we headed back to the hotel to relax and figure out our plans for the evening.

    Next up our last evening in Orlando.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 12 continued . . .
    Since this was our last night in Orlando we decided we’d do something other than the theme parks. The boys really wanted to ride go carts, so we headed to Fun Spot to ride some go carts. This was a lot of fun!! Next we went to Chuys for dinner, which was really good. We planned to go play miniature golf after the dinner, but the front parking area was full and the back area looked a little sketchy. No one was parked in the back and there didn’t appear to be any lights in the parking lot. So we changed our minds and headed to get ice cream. There’s a nice place just south of Seaworld on I Drive called Ginthers Swirl. I didn’t disappoint!! So much so we went back the next day before we headed to the airport.
    After we finished our ice creams we headed back to the hotel to get packed and ready to check out in the morning. Plans for tomorrow was to ride the Seaworld coasters before heading to the airport.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    June 13 . . . Last day in Orlando.
    We wanted to get a few more rides in at Seaworld, so we checked out of our hotel by 9:45am and were inside Seaworld by 10am. I had gotten quick que passes from the concierge so we get ride as many rides as possible.
    First up was Manta, I’d ridden it before but it’s still a rush! Next we headed to Mako, this was our favorite ride at Seaworld!! We rode it 3 times in a row this morning with no wait!! Our last ride was in the front row!!! Wow nothing beats the adrenaline rush of riding in the front row!! Next we headed over to feed the sharks and rays, then we went to see the seals and sea lions.
    It was so hot we decided we go ride Antarctica Empire of the Penguin. Even with quick que we waited quite a while to ride. Then we headed to Journey to Atlantis to cool off even more. Up next was the Sea Rescue area to see the manatees and sea turtles. My oldest nephew has a new found love for manatees! Then we went to the Turtle Trek to see even more manatees and sea turtles. Next we did a little shopping. Since seeing Guy Harvey we all realized how much we like his t-shirts.
    As we left Seaworld about 2:15pm we realized we were hungry and headed to Joe’s Crab Shack for lunch. We had an excellent lunch with great service!! We enjoyed Ginthers Swirls so much we headed back there again for a sweet treat before we headed to the airport.
    We’d had so much fun we really didn’t want to leave, but realized we had also missed our family back home. We left Orlando about 4:30 even though our flight wasn’t until 7:00. We did have a rental car to return and I’d rather be early than late.
     

    CoachZ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2003
    We had such an amazing trip!!! I can’t thank you all enough for all of your help and for keeping this forum up to date!!! Since I bought an AP I’m thinking of going back again before it expires.
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    You really packed a lot of fun on your last day there

    Always nice to have a late flight out at night so it allows you to do parks or another adventure one last time

    I’ve enjoyed reading along on your trip report!
     

    macraven

    Proud Redhead
    Moderator
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2003
    Coachz, I hope you can do a repeat trip within the year and get more use out of the AP you bought
     

    tink1957

    Proud Redhead
    Joined
    May 18, 2008
    Thanks for taking the time to do your trip report coach. You sure packed a bunch of fun into your adventures and I know your nephews and you will have great memories to look back on.

    I also bet you're their favorite aunt :thumbsup2
     

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