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tampabrat22 03-31-2009 12:34 PM

Spring Break 2009 @ Universal, IoA & T-Rex Cafe **LOTS OF PICTURES**
Hi everyone! Like many others here on these boards, I love reading trip reports! I've been wanting to write our frist with a little less than a week till we head to Orlando, I thought I would get it started!:woohoo:First I guess I should introduce our group:

:surfweb: Me- Jessica (32) Mom, overworked, travel & cruise lover, obsessive planner, photographer

:hippie: Linda (58) Grandma, coffee lover, scared of roller coasters, over packer, wrapped around Jaden's little finger

:cool2: Tristan (11) Son, super smart, gamer, reptile lover, black belt karate kid, mama's boy

princess: Jaden (6) Daughter, shy, family princess, sweetheart, girly girl, Disney lover, Birthday girl:cake:

:cool1: Ashley (16) Niece, typical teen, loves Roller Coasters, cell/text addict, boy crazy, my other "baby"

A few pictures of us;
My kids (my daughter was really tired, long day on a cruise;))

Me, my Mom, and DD

My niece

About 6 months ago we started tossing around idea's for my DD's 7th bday! Last year she had a princess tea party and I really don't want to do all that work again. I asked my DD where she wanted to go for her b-day and she decided she really wants to see Spongebob & The Cat in the Hat so...US and IoA here we come!!pixiedust:

I've been to both of these parks many times, and took my niece to IoA when she was about 10 yrs old but my mom and my kids have never been to either park. I'm excited to take them for their first time!

So, as I started planning out this years trips, we thought we would do a few days in Orlando for her b-day, and our usual cruise in the Fall. I booked a cruise for Dec. 2009 (minus the kids) and then in late January I was lucky to snag a really good deal on 4 day Disney cruise::MickeyMo, so now with 3 trips in the works I knew we would have to budget carefully. My kids don't know about the Disney cruise yet (it will be an Easter surprise), I figure this trip was enough excitement for now, lol! And as luck would have it, my DD's b-day fell right in the middle of Spring Break! So thats great, EXCEPT that we hate crowds and the parks will probably be packed, but I really don't want the kids to miss too much school. So it looks like we will be going 4/6/09-4/9/09.

And, like I was saying, budget, we need to make this trip affordable, and by that I mean like less than $1000 and I'm really aiming to keep it below $600:scared:! Sounds crazy right? No not really, this is do-able, since we have lucked out in a few areas! I'll explain more in detail later...

Darcy03231 03-31-2009 04:21 PM

More please:goodvibes.

tampabrat22 03-31-2009 04:23 PM

Ok, lets talk about details...

The official "plan" (but subject to chage:laughing:) is:

Monday Apr. 6- Quick 45 minute drive to Orlando, where will we head straight to IoA. Spend the day here and have dinner @ ____?____

Tuesday Apr. 7- Everyone can sleep in, we have late ressies @ Ohanas for breakfast then we can spend the afternoon in the pool & gameroom. Late afternoon/early eve we will head to Down Town Disney to look around, hopefully ride the Characters In Flight ride and have dinner @ T Rex Cafe to celebrate DD's b-day!!! :bday:

Wed. Apr 8- We will go to Universal Studios this day and probably have dinner @ the new Burger King Whopper Bar, just to check it out!

Thur. Apr. 9- We have a ressie @ cape May Cafe for breakfast. We will possibly make a quick visit to IKEA, because I love that place, then head back to Tampa!

Tickets- (5) 2 day /2 park passes and they were FREE!!
I was lucky to be included in a market research study done in 2006 at the (then) newly opened Nick Hotel. All we had to do was stay one night at the hotel at a cost of $125, tell them about our experience and we received 8 free tickets! I've been holding on to them for years, waiting until my kids were bigger so they could ride all the rides!!

Hotel- (3) nights Howard Johnson Enchanted Land approx. $165
We normally stay at Pop Century while in Orlando, we love that place, but since we'll do all things Disney::MinnieMo on the cruise I thought about the fact that we are rarely at the hotel anyways and since this will be a short trip I figured we might as well save money in this area.

Here is the hotel, nothing spectacular but the "treehouse rooms" look fun, I'm sure my kids will like it!

Metro West 04-01-2009 06:27 AM

Pretty good so far. :thumbsup2

tampabrat22 04-03-2009 10:01 AM

Only 3 more days....

Well, it looks like I need to re-arrange some of our plans. Had to have some repairs done to my car and now I'm not to thrilled about over spending on all the character meals. So I think I will cancel the Breakfast's @ Cape May & Ohana's:sad1:! The kids will get enough Disney on the cruise in Oct. so that is just fluff we can do without.

I'm still undecided if we will get the Meal deal and Refillable cups, I'm leaning toward yes on the cups, but not sure if the Meal Deal would be worth it.:confused3

Now I just have to figure out what to pack and get busy doing it!!:banana:

tampabrat22 04-05-2009 02:04 PM

Guess this will be my last post before we leave!:banana::cool1::banana:

I just finished comfirming our ressies, just to make sure everything is good to go. I'm a bit worried about the weather, it looks like we have a few small storms and a cold-front headed our way. Hope it doesnt ruin too many of our plans! I have to finish packing, and load the car since we will leave early in the morning at 6:30am to make sure we are there at opening!

I'll be sure to take tons of pics to share when we get back! Peace out:hippie:...

tlinus 04-07-2009 08:53 AM

hope you are enjoying your vacation!! :goodvibes

tampabrat22 04-11-2009 03:28 PM

Whew, we had an awesome, exhausting time and I took a ton of pics! I'm looking forward to sharing all about it, and I'll get right on it after Easter!! Hope everyone has a great holiday!:flower3:

jewell 04-11-2009 08:55 PM

Glad you had a good time, I can't wait to hear the full report! :)

macraven 04-28-2009 02:30 PM

waiting for the pics...............:teeth:
and rest of trippie.......

klacey1 05-26-2009 04:20 PM

An IOA/US trippie??? PLEASE?????????????

macraven 05-26-2009 04:28 PM

still waiting.........

but if you need more time, that's okay.

just wanted to find out if birthday girl was thrilled and all were wowed on your adventure.

tampabrat22 09-12-2009 07:17 PM

Wow, I'm so behind!!
First let me apologize, I'm way behind and am just now getting around to finishing this trip report! I hope some of you will still be interested, I'll work on it for the next few days until I can get it done! I have many pictures to share so I hope you like seeing pics, I'll try to keep it to a limit!:littleangel: It was a short trip, but I think we managed to do plenty of activities and we had lots of fun.

Sunday night 4/05/09
Ok so we packed the car and made sure to get everything ready in advance (like charging batteries for cell phones & cameras, gassed up the car etc) which saved us a lot of time in the morning.

Monday 4/6/09
We hit the road about 7:00AM, and made a quick stop at McDonald's drive thru for some breakfast. We arrived at the Universal parking garage right about 8:30AM and there were already quite a few cars heading in. Parking is $12 a day (unless you have an annual pass, then I think it is cheaper or maybe even free) and the garage opened at 8AM for those curious. We made our way through the parking area and headed to Universal Studios!

And just a sidenote...normally the weather is gorgeous in FL this time of year, but unfortunately a cold front moved in and it was FREEZING this week and we weren't really prepared for that. Now when I say freezing, that means it was probably in the high 50's or low 60's, but you know us Southerners, we don't handle cold very well.:laughing:

Making our way into the park, the kids were getting more & more excited (notice the newly opened Burger King Whopper Bar on the 2nd level)...
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I love theme parks just before or as they are opening, theres not many people around and its just so serene! To the right you can see the Hard Rock café, NBA City and Islands of Adventure!
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And for anyone curious, yes my daughter is decked out in Spongebob! Jaden has an outfit for everything, its a custom boutique buyer thing, lol, I can't help myself! She loved her Spongebob dress (made by her grandma) and the matching jewelry (made by me) and she even had matching Spongebob shoes!
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We made it to the gate (right after the gates opened, no later than 9:05AM)! There was no wait and not very many people around.
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It's empty (for now and that wont last long)!! A view toward the Beverly Hills area!
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Just passing by Monsters Café
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Around this point we rush over to our first ride, since this is Jaden's bday trip we let her pick what we should do first. She picks Shrek 4D so we rush to the line, we are in the first group going in for the day. It was a cute show, my daughter really loved it. My son thought it was so-so and my niece was pretty bored (typical teen, lol).

Stay tuned....

tampabrat22 09-12-2009 09:08 PM

Characters & More
So we finished up our ride on the Shrek 4D and head over to Twister. By now it is starting to warm up a bit, thankfully! So there wasn't a long wait at Twister, but watching the videos that are shown before drags it out and wastes a bit of time, next time we will save this for later in the day (we could have used this time to quickly get on the popular rides while the lines were short). I have seen this a few times, but this is the rest of my groups first visit. I love to watch people's reactions while they are watching this show, thats very entertaining for me (especially the ending, but I wont say more because I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone that hasn't experienced it)!:lmao:

After Twister my son & niece want to try Mummy, so off they go while we wait. I tried to get my mom to go with them but she wouldn't, I was more interested in snapping photos while we waited for them.

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Jaden thought these were just the neatest cars she had ever seen!
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By this time lines are starting to form over where the Shrek characters will be. So we head over there so Jaden can have her picture taken with them. First she meets Donkey, and he is hilarious! Loved whoever was voicing his character! Next up was Shrek himself. Jaden is really shy so she didn't interact with them much, but she enjoyed it. There was a photographer there taking pictures that you could purchase, but after looking at theirs I decided I could live with my photos since I would rather keep my $15+!

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Next we head over to the Nick Toon Blast ride, and by this time (I would say it's about 10:30-11am at this point) there was a 45 minute wait! We decided to keep moving, but not before stopping in the adjoinign store. Good thing we did because Spongebob had just come out for pictures! With no wait, Jaden & Ashley were able to go right up and have their photo op with Spongebob! Had the girls actually been looking at the camera I probably would have bought this pic since my daughter is a major Spongebob fanatic, but I guess mine will have to suffice:rolleyes:.

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So after looking around the Nick store for what seemed to be an eternity, we head back toward the entrance of the park and over to the Beverly Hills area. We run in to a few characters and take the opportunity to get some photos. First we see the Scooby gang!

Notice my son way over on the left hiding? He's to "big" to pose for character pics (according to him) but later when I ask what he was doing over there hiding, he says "he was checking out Daphne" :eek: my babies growing up way too fast!!
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Next we see Woody Wood Pecker and his female friend (sorry don't know her name, lol).
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Next we see Marilyn posing so the girls get a pic with her too!
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Soon after we took the above pic, it starts sprinkling! Oh no, we were hoping & praying the weather wouldn't get nasty! So we duck into the Terminator 3D show. We came in right as another group had just went in, and we had to wait what seemed like forever! We finally made it in to the theater after a 45 minute wait. The kids enjoyed it, but none of them have ever even seen a Terminator movie so they didn't really understand the story line. But they had fun posing with the silly glasses!
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tampabrat22 10-04-2009 09:56 PM

Huummm, I beginning to wonder if anyone is even reading this thing:confused3? I'll keep going though, it's slow coming, but I'm going to get this finished, I need to start my pre-trippie for our upcoming Disney cruise!:thumbsup2 OK, so let's see if I can pick up where I left off...

So after Terminator 3-D we walked out around seeing the sights and snapping pics.

Mel's Dinner
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We decided we should go ahead and stop for lunch since everyone was getting hungry. We decided to eat at Richter's Burger Co. which is across from the Disaster ride. It's a burger/chicken sandwich type place, the food was good, and the burgers are HUGE! It's a little on the pricey side, I spent around $40 for me and the 3 kids (burgers, fries & drinks). But it's a nice little place that has seating indoor and out right on the lagoon so I recommend it if you like this kind of food.

My niece and son at lunch
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After lunch we went through the San Francisco/Amity Area and let the kids play some carnival type games,then headed over to Jaws!! The kids & grandma waited about 30-45 minutes to ride, but were glad they did since they all enjoyed it. Unfortunately for me, it started raining while they were on so I had to take cover wherever I could find!:eek:

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After jaws we wanted to ride Men in Black, but it had an hour wait so we decided we would come back later and ride it. But that didn't stop me from snapping a pic, lol!:rotfl:
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