Three Weeks of Bliss

tazz23

<font color=purple>Much more than just a Registere
Joined
Jul 21, 2003
:goodvibes Amazing pictures.. I love the wishes ones!
 
  • jns

    <font color=cc3366>Tries hard to get the jelly off
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2004
    Just catching up with your report , loving all your photos


    I love MK at night too , we always seem to be the last leaving
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Who did you book with? Or did I miss that completely!:rotfl:
    We booked though Tomas Cook Signature, after DSis wound up her local travel agent. Basically Virgin Holidays had a special offer on, so DSis went though their online booking to get a quote for a fly drive then printed that out and took it into the travel agent saying 'beat that and I'll give you the money'. They were able to beat the cost by putting it though TCD rather than VH. Will still flew on a VA plane so there was no difference in service, except we had to pay the new £20 extra a head tax and we had to pay $5 each to check in at DTD.:mad: DSis is trying to get both charges back from the TA.
    The villa belonged to a friend of a friend of DSis so we booked that direct.


    Sorry for the lack of updates, day job keep asking me to do some work.:surfweb: I'll try and get some more up later today.
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 15 Animal Kingdom & Magic Kingdom

    After last night's exercise we didn't get up early, so it was around midday when we got to Animal Kingdom. Today we wanted to get the stuff we had missed on day 4 as we knew we would not be back this holiday. In fact from here on out we had stuff planned for every day and were starting to feel the flight home coming ever closer.:scared1:

    A quick look at the show guide told us the FotLK was due to start at 12:45 so we took a slow walk around to that stopping to look at the animals on the way. We also noticed the dinosaur fountain in the river as you go over the bridge from Discovery Island to FotLK that is left over from when this should have been Beastly Kingdom.

    We all love FotLK, and I think I enjoy it more than the new Nemo show.



    From here we walked up to Africa as we wanted to do the forest trail, we did take a look at the line for the safari but this was the Friday of the Presidents Day weekend so it was an hour wait. The trail was fairly quiet and we got to see a load of animals, although it was cold so some were not out. This chap was not that happy with the weather.



    We had lunch in Tusker House, which was good, before walking round to Asia to Jungle Trek. We stopped and watched the Gibbons while DS had an Ice Cream.



    The tigers were all awake and playing in the sun. Two of then had a play fight in exactly the same way our cats do at home. I think this is one of the best themed areas of Disney's best decorated park. The attention to detail in this park is simply amazing, especially in Asia.



    While we were in AK it was time to ride Everest, even with the 40 minute line. By the time we got off the park was closed so we took a slow walk out, stopping to look at the animals on the way.


    We had yet to see Spectromagic, so we had checked the times on here before going out for the day and and it was set for 7pm giving us plenty of time to get over there.

    The sun was just going down as we got into Magic Kingdom, letting me get some great photos of Main Street and the Castle.



    We walked to Tomorrow Land where we used the passes we had been given on day two to bypass the 60 minute wait for space mountain. When we came off it was time to get a spot for the parade. Having watched the P&PP parade from Liberty square the night before we headed over there. On the way over it was obvious that they were not getting ready, there were no ropes up and there was no one the kerbs. Once we got to Liberty Square I asked a cast member who told me there were now two parades tonight one at 8pm and one at 10. This was certainly news to me as I was expecting the park to close at 9!:yay:

    Now having over an hour to use we waited ten minutes for Haunted Mansion before walking round to Frontier Land where I walked over and got us fast passes for BTMRR. After some discussion I managed to persuade DW and DS to come on Splash Mountain. This took some effort since it was now very cold and neither like to get wet even in the heat.:eek: Luckily for me I was the only one who did get a little damp.

    It was now nearly 8 so we picked out a spot to watch Spectromagic just by the counter service restaurant. However I had made the newby mistake of getting a spot near then end of the route at the time it started at the other end of the park so we had quite a wait. As you can see it was now nearly freezing and the park was emptying fast.



    We got a great spot, with an uninterrupted view up toward Liberty Square so it probably was worth the wait in the cold.





    As soon as the parade went past we walked across the street and up the path to BTMRR where we used our fast passes to bypass a completely empty standby line. Literally there was no one waiting at all except a couple of people already by the gates waiting to board.
    DW was tempted to go having gotten cold during the parade, but really wanted to see Phillarmagic one last time so we went up to Fantasy Land pausing to watch Wishes from the board walk opposite Tom Sawyer Island. When we came out of Phillarmagic it was as if the park has closed, there was no one there.:dance3: We took advantage of this to walk straight onto Dumbo, simply because we could! There were even empty seats on the ride.:woohoo: DW was now very much ready to go, but couldn't resist one last go on Winne the Pooh.

    As we went to go the second Spectromagic was just starting. We got across the road at the hub from the castle just before the first float got there. I was expecting a nightmare getting out but it was now so quiet that we could walk down Main Street while the parade went up it.:eek:

    While in Fantasy Land we had gotten a second pair of gloves as DS and DW were fighting over the pair we had got a couple of days ago, but the shop only had plain ones having sold out of the Mickey logo ones. When we got to the bottom of Main Street DW noticed the shop there had some Mickey gloves, so after I convinced her she had nothing to loose by asking they were happy to change them for us.:thumbsup2 Black gloves you can get anywhere, but Mickey ones will remind her of our holiday every time it gets cold.:love:
     

    PChef

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 2, 2006
    Great photos! Looks like Festival of the Lion King should be on our list for next time, we didn't make it this time!

    Lovely evening in MK with no crowds.:thumbsup2
     
  • castanea1985

    40 years of flying over the pond, and yes, I start
    Joined
    May 19, 2006
    They really are great photos... what camera do you have??
    Love the one of the castle... fantastic lighting!
    Tracy
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    We were running a mixture of three camera's, sometime we had one each, most of the times just two and others just the one.

    I have a Fujifilm S5000 zoom, which gives me 38-380mm zoom so is great for close ups. It also gives full manual control, which is great when you want to get creative.

    DW used to have a Rioch R1, which had an unfortunate encounter between my hip and the side of a coaster car on Psyclone at Magic Mountain a couple of years ago. It still works, but sometimes takes a couple of tries to get it to open. We got ourselves a replacement this year for our anniversary, as we wanted a water proof camera for Discovery Cove. We gave DS the Rioch to use as it wouldn't matter if it got broken further.

    The new camera is a Olympus 725sw which is waterproof to 5m (15') and drop proof to 1.5m (5') onto pavement. This one we had with us all the time and most of the pictures on here were taken with it. It also has part manual controls which I could use to get some of the low light shots in the shows. I am very impressed with this camera, its small enough to wear on your belt, quick to start, waterproof for the rain let alone swimming and takes good pictures.

    In total we took about 2000 pictures, 500 less than we took last year in two weeks with only two cameras.
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 16, IOA and USF

    I had asked DS to wake me when he got up, but taking pity on his old dad he left me to sleep, which meant that instead of our planned early morning father and son commando assault on IOA we got there around 10:30 with the heard.:rolleyes1
    The day could have been saved still, but when I asked him where he wanted to start he insisted on Hulk, 70 minutes later and we were shot up the hill.:hourglass :bored:
    We came off of Hulk and walked back to the information board, which was showing only a 10 minute wait for Dulling Dragons. I was a little sceptical, but off we set round the back of Suess Landing. In the end we only waited 15 minutes to ride in the back car of Ice, if we had gone for a middle seat 10 minutes would have been bang on.:thumbsup2 DW called just as we were getting off wondering if we were going to go back to the villa to collect her, or if she had to stay home alone all day. :sad: We said we would just ride Fire while it was still quiet and then go get her. This was the signal for Fire to break down just as we got to the gate for it's back row. Fortunately they sorted it quickly and in total it was only 20 minutes since we got off Ice until we got on Fire.

    DW had given us a shopping list when we went out, so a stop at Publix was in order before we got to the villa. Once we explained how busy the parks were to DW we all agreed to have lunch and relax in the villa before heading over to USF to watch Mardi Gras.

    We got to USF for around 4pm and the crowd leaving was heavier than the one arriving, so I think we timed it right. As we walked up the street past Terminator there was a guy drumming up an audience for a demonstration in the magic shop on the end. Since there was a while before the Terminator show we went in. He may of been trying to get us to purchase the kits, but the show was great. We were only about 3 feet from him and I have no idea how he did most of the tricks.:worship:
    When we came out of the shop Terminator was loading, so we joined the end of the line and just about made it into a nearly full show. DW is not keen on this, it's a bit too scary for her.:hug:
    By now it was time to eat, so we walked to the Monster Cafe, however when we went in and saw what people were getting served we didn't stick around. I don't know what was going on, but the food looked really unappetising. Instead we walked back down though the crowd to the Cheese Cake Factory place and had some of their rolls. The stilt walkers were out by now and we got a few pictures as we walked down the main drag.



    People were already staking out their spots for the parade, but it was far too early for us to join them. We went round the park to Jaws, which had only just opened from it's winter rehab. This was the first time we had done Jaws at night and we all enjoyed it. I don't know if it has changed since we were last there, but I don't remember getting wet before. Once we got off Jaws it was time to find a spot for the parade so we stayed where we were and just stood on the curb line. DSis and DBiL came and found us while we waited, having been off and doing their own thing all day. They had not had a good time getting in, with chaos reigning in the parking lots. Basically the parking attendants were no where to be seen and the incoming traffic ended up getting directed by cones to the exits, along with the hundreds of people leaving for the day. DSis had to go right round the site and back to the entrance where the kid in the toll booth refused to believe there was no one directing traffic inside the parking lot.:furious: On the way out of the park DSis went to guest services where they apologised and gave her a free parking voucher for the next day, also when she got back to the UK there was a letter of apology waiting for her.

    Once the parade started all unhappy parking thoughts went as we joined in the mad scramble for BEADS. It was interesting to watch the floats go by knowing we had been on them just last week. This was 'our' float.



    We followed the parade down as far a Beetlejuice where we waited as they set a barrier across the road, by doing so we were in the perfect spot to catch the last turn of the parade as it finished,



    DS got quiet a few strings of beads, especially as all four of us adults gave him ours.:teeth: He did get embarrassed by all the attention he received on the way out, with people asking how he got so many.



    As last week DW took DS home while DSis, DBiL and I stayed for the concert. This week it was Huey Lewis and the News, who were great. It was clear they were either on tour, or had just come off as the band were really tight and there was no sheet music in sight, not even for the brass. DSis commented that she didn't think the lighting was as good, but whereas the show last week was just pretty static states, the guy this week was changing looks bang on time with the music.:thumbsup2 He (or she) must also have been with the band a while, and in my opinion did a great job.

    On the way out at the end of the night I got a few photos of the lagoon while DBiL looked round the newly opened NASCAR Cafe shop.

     
  • spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 17 Busch Gardens, take two

    The forecast for today had been cold all week, and when we were at Busch last time the staff had said that they would not be busy today even though it was the holiday weekend because the locals would not bother coming out in the cold. Getting up with the alarm was a bit of a struggle after last nights late finish, but even so we got to Busch about 10:15 ahead of the crowd that did turn up.:woohoo:

    After the ECV rental we set off in the direction of Sheikra. On the way round we saw that they were running both sides of Gwazi for the first time that we had been there, so DS and I took the opportunity to ride the Tiger side for the first time. I had got confused when I posted about our earlier visit on day 12, I've gone back and edited to say we rode the Lion that day.:surfweb:
    Once we got to Sheikra we were still in front of the herd enough to get two rides in in quick succession.:thumbsup2
    As we walked up to Kumba DS and I convinced DW that since she loves Sheikra and Kraken at Sea World she should enjoy Kumba, were we ever wrong.:guilty:



    Once we had calmed DW down we headed round to Cheater Chase, a ride we had yet to go on. To be honest we had not missed much, for those of you who have been the wild mouse a Chessington is a better example of it's kind. Still the 20 minute wait gave DW further time to unwind from Kumba, and the gentle ride was also probably a good thing.

    DS and I then rode Pheonix the fully inverting pirate ship, we knew better than to try and get DW on this! If you zoom in you can just make me out in the very back row waving to DW below.



    By now it was time for lunch, so having read the reviews we went into the Desert Grill, which was great value and had a wide range of tasty food.:thumbsup2 Am I the only one that cannot see the connection between an African/Arabic restaurant and Irish dancing.:confused: We ate between shows so got a seat easy enough, but with it being so cold outside the place could ahve done with a door to close.

    Once we had finished lunch we went to see how long the line was for Rhino Rally, but it was 50 minutes so we didn't bother. We then discovered a 'new' area of the park. What I had always thought was a classroom for visiting school parties is in fact the animal nursery and hospital. We spent a happy half an hour looking at the various animals on display. We also took the time to explore the caves exhibit in this area with all the reptiles in it.

    From here we walked round to the Africa Animals where we watched the hippos being fed treats before visiting the Hyenas and Lion who were their usual active selves ;)





    By now DS was suffering from coaster withdrawal so we headed over to Egypt for a Montu fix. DW waited for us in the shop while DS and I rode after only a ten minute line. Having eased one craving DS now had another, for Dippin Dots, despite the 45 degree air temperature.:scared1: While he tried to catch his death of cold DW and I shared a Funnel cake.
    I went and checked the line for Rhino Rally again, but it was still too long. I got a couple of photos while I was up that way.



    We then went up to Pirates 4D, not only because it is a great film, but also because it is heated! We were careful to sit away from the water jets.

    Now it was time to catch the last show of Katonga, which we all really enjoyed on our visit last year. Again the venue was heated, and I'm ashamed to say that we all slept though most of the show:blush: We had all been up early following a late night.

    While DW was returning her ECV DS and I got to ride both sides of Gwazi one last time with no wait.:cool1: We both decided that the back car of Tiger was our favourite.

    After picking up a coffee to go it was time to head back to the villa for an early night.
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 18 Discovery Cove

    We had been a bit nervous about the weather today, the weekend had been down right cold and today was only due to hit the mid 60s after a start in the low 30s. In view of the cold we didn't rush to get there, rather we aimed for about 10:00. DW, DS, DSis and I were all booked on the dolphin swim, DBiL is not comfortable in water out of his depth, so he hadn't booked the swim.

    We checked in and got taken down to the guest services area where they took our free photos, before being shown to the lockers and wet suites. Once we got our stuff put away DSis got us a spot on the beach near where our swim was to be.
    Once we settled in we headed over to the lazy river. In view of the low temperature we all had full wet suites on, other than DSis who just got a vest, the water in the 'resort pool' and river was a bit of a shock, it was almost too hot to get in.:thumbsup2

    This is the resort pool, with the river going though it.



    The lazy river is not like the ones in the water parks, the flow is nowhere near as strong in most places and so you have to swim to make progress. DC gives everyone a snorkel to keep and lends you a face mask that covers your nose, so most people go round the river with their heads under. The depth varies from about 3 feet to about 8 feet and there is stuff on the bottom to look at.

    We all got split up while in the river, so when I got back to the pool I decided to have a go in the reef pool with the fish. This pool is much colder than the river, being maintained at 75 to keep the fish happy.

    This is the reef, the wreck has windows in it under the water, with barracuda behind them, and the rocks over on the right have similar windows in them with Sharks behind.:scared1:



    Swimming with fish took some getting used to, I had not done it before, but after a few minutes was totally absorbed in floating around with them. There is also a smaller ray pool next to the reef where you can just wade with them, but the main pool has some huge rays in it as well.



    After a while lunch was calling so I walked back to our patch of beach to find all the others there. We went into the restaurant where it was difficult to make a choice, the food was well above normal park fare, and made even better by the lack of a cash register.:) All the food and drink, including the beer is free all day both in the main restaurant and at the snack bars.

    Following lunch DSis, DBiL and I went over the aviary, you can get in this two way, one by going under the waterfall in the river and also by a door near the reef pool.



    There are loads of birds in here, most of them quite tame. Like at Busch Gardens you can get cups of food for the birds, only here there is no charge for them.


    Now for the highlight of the day the dolphin swim:woohoo: .
    Having watched a few from the beach DBiL was beginning to think again about not swimming, but I was quite glad he didn't as he saved us a fortune by taking our photos from the beach. We gathered on the beach and then got taken into one of the huts to meet our trainer and watch a short film before getting in the water.



    We met 'our' dolphin, Rascal, who is the smallest dolphin there. we used hand signals to get him to 'speak', then gave him a back rub. Then each person got to give him a kiss, DS didn't want to kiss another boy, so just rubbed his back some more.



    When a young girl who was in our group kissed him he rolled over on his back and wouldn't come back up until she tickled his tummy and made him laugh. When DSis kissed him he 'fell in love' and wanted more.



    I went to kiss him, but just got splashed for my trouble since he didn't want a kiss from a bloke.:lmao: After a dancing lesson from Rascal he decided to swap with Capricorn, who is the dominant male of DC's pod. Capricorn's party tick is to impersonate a shark by circling us a high speed. We all linked arms in a circle and then the louder we screamed the faster he went, until his wake was going over our heads. Even with 8 of us linked together he was able to lift us all off our feet!

    We then swapped back to Rascal for the actual swim. We swam out in pairs about 20 yards into deep water and then Rascal towed us back one by one. DSis and DS went out first and I'll never forget the look of wonder on DS's face as he came back toward me. In fact I recently had to have a filling replaced at the dentist and was so busy concentrating on the replay of this memory that I never felt a thing.



    My tow.



    Once we were all back in shallow water the dolphins did a few more tricks, before they all went out into the deep water to jump together.

    As we came out of the water the hard sell started for the photos that DC had taken and their video. These are grossly over priced, and I have no idea why they are so much money. If they had been cheaper then I would have got them, but at $135 for 5 photos and a video I was not going to buy them no matter how good. DSis was tempted, but I asked the staff how long they keep the files, on being told about a year I convinced her to see the ones DBiL had gotten before parting with her money.

    DS had gotten cold while in the 75 degree dolphin lagoon so I took him back to the resort pool to warm up, before I went back in the reef pool.



    I got loads of pictures with our new underwater camera and completely lost track of time. After a trip round the lazy river I went back to our patch of beach and reluctantly got cleared away before showering and getting dressed to go.

    DS and DW had had enough for the day and had been snacking all afternoon so we dropped them back at the villa before DBiL, DSis and I went for dinner at Smoky Bones. Had we thought about it we could have had our lunch earlier and then eaten again before the the restaurant closed at 3pm, but I was too busy swimming.


    You often see post on here asking is Discovery Cove worth the money, my answer is always a definite YES.:thumbsup2 By getting the two week Sea World and Busch Gardens option on the DC tickets and then the two week two park Universal tickets the total cost was only around £50 more than the 5 park flexi ticket. £50 for these memories was worth every penny and if we had tried we could have easily eaten £50 worth of food that day anyway!
     

    carolfoy

    <font color=cc6633>One has Ones hat and One's orf.
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2005
    fabulous tigger pics :love:
    and a great report thanks for all the photos, they really bring it to life
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 19 MGM

    We had our Fantasmic dinner package booked today for all 5 of us, DSis and DBiL were going to get one day tickets on the gate to get in. Having been to Orlando many times over the years they no longer go to Disney every time, but DSis LOVES Tower of Terror and will happily pay just to ride it.

    DW & I were awake after the others and since DS was almost ready to go out by the time we got up he went on ahead with his aunt and uncle, leaving DW and I to relax alone for the morning.;) Later on DSis phoned to say that she had gotten us all fast passes for the one thirty Lights Motors Action show. I asked how she had gotten more passes than she had tickets and she explained that the machines were down, so cast members were giving the passes out and just asking how many you wanted without seeing tickets. DW and I got ourselves ready and headed over to the park, meeting the others outside the line entrance. We got some good seats for the show, without any pillars this year, but to the left of centre.



    DSis explained while we were waiting that they had not been on TOT since the standby was 80 minutes and the fast pass return was while we were due to be eating. She didn't know that the return time can be flexible, so long as it is later then the time on the ticket.

    The Park was really busy today, with it being the holiday week, so we didn't try for the big stuff. I had wanted to see One Man's Dream for a while so we went there after LMA, stopping for a drink on the way. I enjoyed OMD and could have spent much longer looking round the exhibits, but the film was starting and the others were not as interested so we went into the theatre and watched.

    By the time we got out of OMD it was time to head over to Hollywood and Vine for our (very early) dinner ADR. Dinner was ok, but nothing special. Things were not improved by them seating the five of us at a standard four person table, with an extra place squeezed on the end.:crowded: Since DS is 11 and an adult to Disney they had no way of knowing that all five of us were not as large as DSis and I, if we had of been thing would have been really tight. The best part of dinner was the voucher to get us into the reserved seating at Fantasmic.

    We came out of H&V and headed down Sunset to TOT where the wait time was still showing 80 minutes. By now DBiL was getting concerned that DSis was not going to get on her beloved ride and that he was going to be paying out for a second days tickets so she could ride. So despite the time remaining between now and when we had to be at Fantasmic DW, DSis, DS and I got in line while DBiL set off to the parking lot looking like a pack animal to drop some stuff and get coats for tonight. DSis said the line did not look 80 minutes to her, and sure enough 35 minutes later we were in the gift shop.:thumbsup2 We then went and met up with DBiL by the gas station. Then the three males waited patiently outside the main gift shop while DW and DSis did whatever it was they did for half an hour.:confused3

    I didn't take any photos in Fantasmic at all this year, so I'll share a couple from last year. Being on the dinner package ment that we were a little further round to the right this year than where these were taken, but they are still good seats. In fact with the way the water screen is angled round there the reserved seats are better than the next block over.

    From the beginning of the show.


    And from nearer the end.


    We were able to cut across the flow of people leaving Fantasmic and go down the main entrance way at the end rather than the one over to the right, so we came out by TOT. By now the park had emptied out and we were able to get two rides in a row done, the second one with only moments to spare before they closed the line.:woohoo:

    I had said earlier in the day that I would like to have a look round the Boardwalk Resort, so with it only being around 8:30 we drove over from MGM. DW and I had fallen in love with Wyland years ago in his Laguna Beach studio, so having seen that he had a shop at the Boardwalk I had to take her.:love: Unfortunately our budget still won't alow us to purchase anything, especially for shipping to the UK, but it is still a wonderful place to look around. DW and DS headed home when we came out of the shop, leaving DSis, DBiL and I to stroll around the waterfront for about another hour before following them.

     

    sandshal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2003
    Another great report - have enjoyed reading everyone of them! We will be visiting DC for the first time this year and therefore your photos and comments were absolutely great.

    Keep them coming - you're a star !!!!!!
     

    mark&sue

    <font color=teal>I keep trying to convert everybod
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2004
    I too am really enjoying reading your reports. They really feel like we are there with you!


    Susan
     


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