Three Weeks of Bliss

spencem

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Day 20 Kennedy Space Centre

Our last full day.:sad1:

We must have the only 11 year old boy on the planet who is not the least bit interested in space. After last year's experience of dragging him round bored all day this year we left him with his aunt and uncle while DW and I went off to KSC. I have to say DW was only coming to spend the day with me, but she later said that she enjoyed the day much more than last year. Probably something with not having to stop me feeding DS to the nearest 'gator all day.

We got out to the centre at about 11am and after a quick bathroom break went straight into the IMAX film about the International Space Station. We were really getting into this when about two thirds of the way though the film jammed and then snapped. A guy came on the intercom a couple of minutes later to say that the projection room was a complete mess with tangled film everywhere and that it was going to take a while to fix, so could we all leave please.
We decided to grab a quick lunch before catching the bus tour, this was a mistake, the food court was chaos. I have no idea how NASA got a man on the moon when they could not manage to get more than two on cash registers at lunch time during one of the areas busy weeks.:headache: Luckily I saw what was happening and we only got salads, some people tried for hot food. By the time they got to pay for it and eat the food wasn't so much cold as starting to decompose.:sick: Seriously there were only half a dozen staff in sight and they were totally over run.

An age later we got on the bus out to the LC39 viewing platform, where we saw Atlantis sitting on the pad being prepared for it's launch.



There is not much out at the viewing gantry other than the glorious views over the whole site, and some great models which show how the launch complex works.
Once we had a good look we got another bus to continue the tour. These bus journeys are not just sitting watching out the windows, the drivers are very informative with their commentary and anecdotes. Plus they show videos on overhead monitors explaining what you are going to see next and other information and history of the site.

The next stop on our tour was the Apollo Centre, which is excellent. You enter though an exact recreation of the launch control room which has been built using all of the original consoles. The room looks exactly like it did for the launch of Apollo 8, even down to jackets hanging on the backs of chairs. Once everyone is in the launch count down of Apollo 8 is run from the three minute mark to just after lift off. This is done by replaying the voice tapes from the day, and all of the telemetry tapes onto the consoles. It is just like it was actually done, the only thing missing are the people sat working.



It is an amazing experience, especially when the rocket starts and someone shakes the whole building, as it would have been shaken on the day.:thumbsup2

We had spent a lot of time here last year and missed the International Space Station building, so this year we skipped the rest of the building and went back for the next bus.
All the way over to the ISS building the bus driver kept saying not to use flash in there, but take as many photos without it as you like. The films we watched on the bis and on arrival said it, the signs as you got off the bus said it, the posters with a picture of a flash gun and a red line though it said so. Anyone want to guess what a guy did once we got in the viewing area did and then said he didn't know he couldn't?:scratchin The tour guide simply looked at him and said in a normal if slightly raised voice, "Sir if you do that again and set off the highly sensitive fire protection system, hosing down $3BILLION of hardware NASA will recover as much as it can from your assets." His teenage daughter put it better, with a simply comment of "DAD, you moron".:lmao: The ISS building is interesting, with some simple walk though mock ups of the modules, as well as the viewing area where you can see the real things being checked out prior to being loaded into the Shuttle and lunched.



We got the bus back to the main visitor complex where everything was closing up except for the great shop. While DW 'rested' in the shop I got some photos of the rocket garden against a lovely sunset.



Once I found DW I picked up a book for the flight home to add to the things she had already selected.

Once again I felt we had missed large parts of the site, next time I'm going to have to get up earlier and plan the day better, there is loads to do and see here and they are adding even more later this year.

We rounded our child free day off with dinner at Smoky Bones on the way home.

DSis and DBiL had taken DS for lunch at the Wing House before trying their luck using DW's and my Disney passes to get into Epcot. It turns out DBiL and I have identical finger prints! DSis had some trouble, but with 'her child' and husband already in the park the CM simply over rode the gate without even asking for a signature let alone ID.;) Once they had watched Illuminations they joined us back at the villa for the horror of packing:eek: :sad2: :sad1:
 

spencem

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Thanks Jodie, I was wondering if anyone is still reading...

Just the last day and a round up left to post, then the holiday will finally be over.:sad1:
 
  • carolfoy

    <font color=cc6633>One has Ones hat and One's orf.
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2005
    I'm still with you all the way, and a jolly good ride it is too!:goodvibes
     

    MorningGlory

    Space for rent
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    Read every report and enjoyed the lot of them! :thumbsup2

    The photos especially are great, I much prefer the photos in people's trip reports than on travel agents websites, etc. You have had some particularly great ones over the course of the 3 weeks.
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Day 21 Sea World & Flight Home

    An early start to complete the packing and tidy the villa, since it belonged to a friend of a friend we cleaned up after ourselves rather than walking away like you would a hotel room.
    We checked in at Down Town Disney, but having been booked via Thomas Cook Signature by our price matching Travel Agent we had to pay $5 a head for the pleasure.:mad: DSis has since claimed this back from the TA, since they promised an identical holiday to the Virgin Holidays one they price matched.

    After check in we split from DSis and DBiL who went to Animal Kingdom while we went to Sea World. The park felt quite busy compared to our first visit, but we only waited about ten minutes for Journey to Atlantis. DW was nervous about taking her first ride on JtA, last year we rode Bilge Rat Barges at Universal on the last day and she got soaked. Having read so many reports on JtA saying you only ever get wet in the front seats I convinced her to ride.:rolleyes1 Needless to say she sat in the back, and got soaked by a freak wave coming over the side.:guilty: At least this year she had a full change of clothes in our hand luggage.



    I managed to keep DW in the park and got her to ride Kraken to help dry off. This is one of her favourite rides in the world, despite the inversions.:confused:



    Somehow DW managed to loose the key for her ECV while on Kraken, we have no idea why she put it in her pocket rather than the locker with all our stuff. A quick stop in the gift shop was all that was needed for someone to come over with a replacement key.

    For lunch we went into the Sea Fire Inn, which was excellent. I think that Sea World has the best counter Service food options of all the parks, except the free version at Discovery Cove.;)

    After Lunch we walked up to the seals, which for some reason was all but deserted. On the way round we heard the music start for the fountain show. Since we were by the steps at the Spice Mill we were in a great place to stop and watch.



    To use up the last of our dollars we got some fish so we could feed the seals, when not fighting the birds off.



    Once we had given the birds their lunch, and the odd seal, we went to watch Pets Ahoy for the final time. When the show finished we had a while left before we needed to get on the road so we went to look at the rays and dolphins on the way out. Looking at the rays in a tank does not compare well to swimming with them at Discovery Cove. When we got down to the dolphins we were even more disappointed. Sea World have changed the way you see this exhibit, you now cannot get near the animals without buying some fish and joining an organised group. Having swam with them a couple of days ago we didn't feel the need to join in, even if we had had the time.

    Now for the low point of the holiday, the trip though Orlando Airport and the flight home.:sad:

    As we were checking the hire car in DSis and DBiL pulled into the lot behind us, so we all went in together. Traffic had been light so we had some time to kill in the airport, we got a coffee and sat in the food court while the ladies had a last look at shops in America. The flight home provided some entertainment when the steward bringing DS' kids meal looked at his list, looked at our row and DW then said "I'm sorry Sir, we only have one child's meal booked for this row". I just replied "That's all right, my WIFE didn't want one". The poor guy didn't know what to say.:lmao: Somehow he worked the other aisle for the rest of the flight.
     
  • MorningGlory

    Space for rent
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    spencem said:
    The flight home provided some entertainment when the steward bringing DS' kids meal looked at his list, looked at our row and DW then said "I'm sorry Sir, we only have one child's meal booked for this row". I just replied "That's all right, my WIFE didn't want one". The poor guy didn't know what to say. :lmao: Somehow he worked the other aisle for the rest of the flight.

    :eek: :eek:

    A right 'D'oh!' moment that one :rotfl:

    Have you started planning your return yet? I've kinda started mine, and i've not even been for the first time yet! :headache: :eek: :laughing:
     

    spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    Final thoughts? Three weeks is not long enough, in the words of the song "There is more see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done". This was our second trip and a week longer at that, but still we did not see much beyond the main parks and the I4. We didn't make an air boat trip, we only saw the ocean from the LC39 viewing gantry at Kennedy, DW had wanted to go horse riding at Fort Wilderness. We've never seen the Electric Water Pageant, France, England and Canada at Epcot. We didn't go to the Sky Diving simulator on I Drive.

    What we did do was have a fantastic family holiday.:hug: :cool1: :hug: :cloud9:

    DS starts senior school this September, so our days of taking him out of school are over. With this in mind we are tentatively looking a Christmas trip to Southern California for 2008, to see our friends out there and meet the west coast mouse. Our next trip to the World is not likely to be before the summer of 2010, when we'll have to put up with the crowds and more importantly the heat.


    Thank you to everyone for reading, and your kind comments. I did this as much for my own benefit as anything else, it has been a great way to keep the memories fresh, but your input has been great. If anyone has any questions then please do ask and I'll do my best to remember. No doubt I will be asking loads of my own in the run up to our next trip.:thanks: :disrocks:
     

    mark&sue

    <font color=teal>I keep trying to convert everybod
    Joined
    Nov 8, 2004
    Thank you for your wonderful report. Keep us up-to-date with your 2008 plans.


    Susan
     

    SueAndCarol

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2007
    GREAT PHOTOS! Maybe I missed it somewhere...what kind of camera were you using? How many MP, things like that?

    Thanks for sharing with us!
     
  • spencem

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 12, 2006
    This was on page 4, but then I always scoot though trip reports just looking at the days as well.:thumbsup2


    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.
    Thanks for your kind words.
     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    I feel very sad that the report is over. Your DW should be flattered they think she is a child!
     

    corbennic

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2006
    Thanks for the report. It was great to read one where it wasn't all about disney. Making me look forward to the other parks to now! :banana:
     

    arieljasmine

    <font color=magenta>Who says these things pass you
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2004
    I have just finished reading all of your reports. Thanks very much for sharing them with us, I have really enjoyed them. If you decide to go to California next year, I hope you will write another trip report.

    Laur's princess:
     

    suevee

    <font color=red>I am in a frenzy!<br><font color=r
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2000
    I had a case of insomnia tonight so I went to the Dis completed trip reports to visit the World through someone else's eyes. When I started reading your report I realized we had been in WDW at the same time! In fact we were at AK and MGM on the same days. BUT YOUR PICTURES ARE WAY BETTER!!! :yay: :yay: So I relived our trip through your pictures. THANK YOU!! Now I can go to sleep with visions of WDW dancing in my head. :cloud9: Planning our next trips n March and June of 08.:woohoo:
     

    jns

    <font color=cc3366>Tries hard to get the jelly off
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2004
    Just catching up with the rest of your trip

    Thanks for sharing really enjoyed reading and seeing all your great photos

    WDW 2010 , will you be able to wait that longggggggggggggggggg
     

    wils

    <font color=ff6633>Has had Capt. Jack Sparrow on h
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2004
    Just found this :)

    A fab report with many great photos - thanks so much you've cheered up my dreery wet Tuesday morning :thumbsup2
     

    tttessa

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2007
    Thanks for sharing this - looks like you had a great time!!!:thumbsup2

    I want to be there NOW!!!! :sad1:

    Tessa
     


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