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Old 03-14-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
kkendle
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Just back from US but still in Florida


Hello everyone....my 2 teenage kids and I just finished our 2 days at US/IOA and I thought I would post about it. We are still in Florida as we have moved to a rental house and will do Disney for a few days and 1 dat at Sea World.

I am already exhausted. We flew in early Tuesday morning, March 12, and went straight to Animal Kingdom. Got to the park around 11 am or so and unfortunatley it was raining and chilly outside. It rained off and on several times during the day but it wasn't too bad. We left the park early evening and drove to Royal Pacific where we would stay the next 2 nights.

This was our 2nd time staying at Royal Pacific but have been to the parks several times. I will NEVER stay offsite again while visiting Universal. The perks of having express pass and early entry are worth every penny we paid for the hotel. I purchased a preferred annual pass last March to get the discount on the hotel room for that trip and it is still valid for this trip so got a good annual pass discount on the room. Spring Break is always crowded but the easiest time for us to go with the kids school break.

We relaxed the rest of Tuesday evening and had dinner at the asian place onsite...I can't remember the name of it. It was OK...the service was great and the food was OK...I just didn't like it all that much. I got some kind of noodle dish with chicken and the first few bites were pretty good but it got kind of spicy and greasy fast. Again, I am sure it was just not really my kind of thing as there was nothing wrong with the food. My daughter got orange chicken and it was OK too...just different than the cheapo Panda Express kind that she loves! My son had some sort of seafood soup dish...he really liked it but was a bit spicy as well. We went to bed fairly early as we were very tired from our early morning and knew we would be getting up early the next day.

We got up around 5:30am as IOA opened at 8am and 7am for resort guests. We made our way out to the water taxi and managed to get into the park and to the gates about 6:50. It was pitch black outside..the time change really makes a difference! It was also COLD...way colder than I expected. I know that 49-50 isn't cold when you are in a snowstorm...I am from St. Louis and we get plenty of cold weather. I was just not prepared for it. I somehow thought it would magically warm up fast, but it didn't. We were in shorts/capris/sandals and froze.

We spend the entire early morning hour in Pottersville obviously. We went straight to FJ and rode it pretty much walk on. I only rode it once as it kind of makes me sick, but the kids got right back in line and rode it again. This time they had to wait about 20 min or so. I used this time to go to Olivander's to watch the show as I have never seen it before. If you have someone really interested in this then I would say it is a must do, but I don't have a need to do it again. It was cute, but once was enough and I was very glad I only waited maybe 20 minutes.

By this time it was 8am and the herd of people were running down the street towards us. We decided it was time to go. We were so cold and miserable we decided to take a small break and water taxi it back to the hotel to change into jeans and tennis shoes. Although I was still cold for hours, it was much better. When we got back to the park, we made our way to ride Hulk, Spiderman and a few other attractions a few times and walked around the park looking in shops.

We eventually decided to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks. we have eaten there before and the food is OK...not sure why we decided to eat there this time but I think the kids wanted a butterbeer and we just wanted a break and ate.

After lunch and spending a bit more time at IOA and stopping at the candy store in Suess Landing and getting a gigantic rice krispie treat with a layer of chocolate over the top (YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM), we finally made our way to US for a few hrs. The kids rode Rip Rocket and we did Despicable Me for the first time. I said earlier that FJ makes me sick...well, it was nothing compared to Despicable Me. I really wish I could have enjoyed it as it looked really cute, but after about 30 seconds, I closed my eyes and tried to go to a happy place and just pretend it wasn't happening. That helped and I was OK, but I knew that this attraction would not be a good thing for me. I never get sick from these rides, but feel like I would and can be sick a while afterwards.

Rode Mummy, did Twister, MIB....I swear my gun is broke every time I ride the ride. It isn't really..it is just difficult for me for some reason the know where to shoot! Anyway, it was fun but my son got the high score in my group...I hate to lose! We went back to IOA for a bit and did a few attractions and by that time I was worn out. I am not as young as I used to be...used to be we would go at opening and stay until close. Ugh...not anymore. I think staying for several days would be better for me instead of trying to cram everything into 2 days at the parks. Taking a small rest mid day would be a wise decision for me...I hate to admit that as I used to be the one dragging everyone around full of energy!

We went back to the hotel and rested for a while and went back to City Walk later and ate at Bubba Gumps. We enjoyed the meal and enjoyed it more since we had a little break. We were beat again and got to bed as early as we could so we could get up and do it all again.

I am tired now as well...so will finish this soon. Have to get up early for a Magic Kingdom day tomorrow.

By the way, the Keurig coffee thing was just as everyone has said...you get 4 pods to use daily and if you ask for more, you pay. We did instant oatmeal using the water from the pot...after I cleaned it, and it worked pretty good. Well, my son ate the oatmeal anyway...but he is 17 and wille at just about anything!

Until later...Kelly
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:21 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this! Your day sounded fun but exhausting! It makes me glad we have two days for each park! Approximately what time did you wait for 20 min for Ollivanders? The oldest of my 5 kiddos is 12, so this is definitely a must for us! We are also staying onsite so we are super excited about the early entry to WWoHP, as we are coming in mid June! Also, did you show your hotel room key at Bubba Gumps for priority seating? I'm curious how that worked out if you did. Thanks for dealing with all the questions! Post pics if you have them & enjoy the rest of your vacation!
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:43 PM   #3
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KK, happy that you checked in with your report.
feeling icky from a ride is not fun.
hope you recovered from that quickly.

the restaurant with the Asian flair is Islands Dining Room.
i loved the menu from 2 years back but not this current one.

i only do the breakfast at Islands now.


do come back and share with us more of your trip!
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
kkendle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarleyGirl514 View Post
Thanks for posting this! Your day sounded fun but exhausting! It makes me glad we have two days for each park! Approximately what time did you wait for 20 min for Ollivanders? The oldest of my 5 kiddos is 12, so this is definitely a must for us! We are also staying onsite so we are super excited about the early entry to WWoHP, as we are coming in mid June! Also, did you show your hotel room key at Bubba Gumps for priority seating? I'm curious how that worked out if you did. Thanks for dealing with all the questions! Post pics if you have them & enjoy the rest of your vacation!
I visited Ollivander's about 8:30am. Like I said, the wait was maybe 20 minutes but of course got way longer after 9am. I did NOT show my room key at Bubba Gump's for priority seating..actually I forgot to do this. We waited maybe 30 minutes and that was on a Wednesday evening around 8pm. We walked around a shop during the wait time so was no big deal to us. We fely slightly guilty walking by everyone in the stand by lines as we practically walked right onto attractions. Notice, I said "slightly". I know what it feels like to be standing in a long line but it was so nice getting right on everything. We have gone the first part of June before and the crowds were fine. Of course, that is in comparison to Spring Break!
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
kkendle
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Originally Posted by macraven View Post
KK, happy that you checked in with your report.
feeling icky from a ride is not fun.
hope you recovered from that quickly.

the restaurant with the Asian flair is Islands Dining Room.
i loved the menu from 2 years back but not this current one.

i only do the breakfast at Islands now.


do come back and share with us more of your trip!
Yes, correct about the dining room name...I could have looked it up, but was exhausted and just too lazy to do it! We had eaten at Jake's (at least I think that is the name of the place next door?), last March and we thought it was pretty good but didn't eat there this time.

The sickness was over pretty fast for me thankfully...I was saved on Despicable Me by shutting my eyes...haha.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:05 PM   #7
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Just back from US but still in Florida-Update March 15

OK...still tired from spending the day at Magic Kingdom but thought I better write about our 2nd day before I forget everything. I think forgetting stuff and getting tired our early are signs of getting old..

We got up early again the next day to get into the park by 7am early opening. I got a late check out for 12pm...usually 11am (better than nothing!) so we decided to just get ready and hit the parks and come back to pack up the room late morning. We got to the park and waited a few minutes before they started letting everyone in. Another chilly morning but today we were prepared with jeans, tennis shoes, and a jacket!

We headed to Potterland where the kids rode FJ immediately. I didn't feel a need to ride it today as it does make me feel sick...so I walked around the area and took a few pics..which didn't turn out as it was so dark. It was nice just taking my time and enjoying the area. I went into Three Broomsticks and had a nice hot chocolate while waiting for the kids. Soon enough they were off the ride and chose not to ride it again. I warned them that if they wanted to ride again, they should do it now as the lines would get crazy later but they didn't want to.

We headed back through Suess Landing as the crowds were starting to pour in and we had to dodge running people. We strolled over to Hulk where they weren't even doing Express as the line was only a 5 minute wait. My son and I rode in the front seat and waited maybe 2 turns to do so. The day before we also did this but a bit later in the day and waited maybe 15 minutes for it. When the ride ended, there were only a few people in line...not enough to even fill the coaster and we asked if we could just ride again but they said we had to walk around and go through the line again. Made sense so we did it and rode it again...walk on for a 2nd time. We could have kept riding it but by then I was done. My daughter unfortunately has a cold and didn't want the cold air in her face so waited for us in the cafe next door.

They decided to do Doom after Hulk so I waited for them since I hate that ride. Then we all did Spiderman...me once, and them twice. We decided to walk through Toon Lagoon because my son wanted a Popeye shirt he had seen the day before in one of the shops there. We continued around and back through Potterland so they could get a butterbeer.

I don't really like butterbeer very much. I usually take a small drink of theirs and don't want anymore. It is just not my thing. I decided that I must have another huge krispie treat from the candy store in Suess Landing so we headed there next.

At this point it was time to go back to the hotel so we made our way back to check out. We had about an hour left so we quickly packed up and tried to lay down for a small rest but i wasn't able to sleep. We took our stuff back to the car...we didn't have much so was easier to just carry it than to bring the car around and re-park it. Then back to the park.

It was lunch time so we decided to eat at Hard Rock for lunch. We had no wait. We had debated on eating there for lunch or dinner and was glad we chose lunch as there was a sign outside later in the day that said it was closed at 4:30pm that day for a private event. Since we were not invited to the event...it was nice we got to have lunch there. The food was good and everyone enjoyed what they got.

We decided to go over to US at that point as we had spent most of the first day at IOA. The kids rode rocket with about a 30 min wait...not too bad. We all rode Mummy and walked back to MIB where I did better but still sort of stink at it! We browsed through a few shops and my daughter had to have a piece of cheesecake so we relaxed and did that before taking in Shrek. We have seen it bunches of times but the preshow still makes me laugh. I love the pigs and the gingerbread cookie!

We finally made our way back to IOA for a last chance at doing whatever we wanted to do. My daughter and I decided to watch Sinbad but my son refused to watch it and hung out somewhere while we did that. The show isn't the greatest in my opinion so we really could have skipped it. We haven't seen it in a few years and now I remember why.

The kids decided to do Dragon Challenge as it wasn't open in the am...but opened at noon. Afterwards we did some shopping and decided to call it a day.

We really enjoyed our time and maybe next time we will stay longer and enjoy the resort and not be so rushed. We didn't want to take park time to hang out at the resort so didn't enjoy it like we could have.

I was supposed to get free internet and the hotel charged me for this anyway. I called the desk and they were very quick about taking it off my bill and giving me a new one which I was thankful for.

Sea World tomorrow so better get going. I have never done a trip report myself so maybe I will try and add some tips and things we learned that made our trip easier a bit later.

Kelly
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Great report Kelly! Thanks for taking the time to share I'll be down there 4/24-26(1st Universal trip) and I could use all the info & tips possible, looking forward to hearing about the rest of your stay.
Blessings to you for the rest of your vacation
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for the TR! We are going to Seaworld also, so don't forget to report on your day there too. :

So while we have stayed onsite at Disney for our first trips, I have resisted the pull of onsite since. Having rented a whole house for significantly less than the cost of a room, I just can't deal with the lack of space in a hotel. Curious, how are you finding the house now? I guess two days in a hotel at the start of your trip is probably the best way to do it, though--NOT at the end of the trip when everyone is tired and family togetherness may be wearing thin!

With you on butterbeer, it's so dang sweet, but the kids love it. I will have one frozen, but that'll probably be enough for me. We actually really liked the pumpkin juice (weird I know). I have learned how to make reasonable facsimiles of both at home, but we are looking forward to having "the real thing" again. I did see on some menu some sort of pumpkin freezie or something? Did you come across that?

THanks for mentioning that Despicable Me made you queasy. I am looking forward to it, but dh didn't like FJ for that reason, and REALLY didn't like the Simpson's ride. So I may leave him and dd to do something else while ds and I give it a try.

I hope the rest of your trip is super!
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #10
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Thanks for the TR! We are going to Seaworld also, so don't forget to report on your day there too. :

So while we have stayed onsite at Disney for our first trips, I have resisted the pull of onsite since. Having rented a whole house for significantly less than the cost of a room, I just can't deal with the lack of space in a hotel. Curious, how are you finding the house now? I guess two days in a hotel at the start of your trip is probably the best way to do it, though--NOT at the end of the trip when everyone is tired and family togetherness may be wearing thin!

With you on butterbeer, it's so dang sweet, but the kids love it. I will have one frozen, but that'll probably be enough for me. We actually really liked the pumpkin juice (weird I know). I have learned how to make reasonable facsimiles of both at home, but we are looking forward to having "the real thing" again. I did see on some menu some sort of pumpkin freezie or something? Did you come across that?

THanks for mentioning that Despicable Me made you queasy. I am looking forward to it, but dh didn't like FJ for that reason, and REALLY didn't like the Simpson's ride. So I may leave him and dd to do something else while ds and I give it a try.

I hope the rest of your trip is super!
The house is GREAT!! I really considered staying onsite this trip at Disney as it is just me and 2 kids. Last spring break it was me and 4 kids, and the summer before it was me and 6 kids. I thought maybe this time we should just do it...but we really enjoy spreading out and having multiple bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry, and a kitchen. This time there are 3 of us yet we are in a 4 bedroom house. It just worked out that way. The house we rented had a 4th bedroom with an exterior entry as well as an interior entry. Sometimes they rent it as a 3 bedroom and just lock that room up, but since it is spring break we had to rent it as the 4 bedroom. No big deal to us, it is the house we chose and we just don't use one of the rooms!

We are staying in Emerald Island...we have never stayed here before. It is the closest place we have ever rented and we have rented multiple times. I was really looking for something close and I am really happy with the location. We are only a couple of miled from 192 and the Sherbeth (sp?) road and is very close to everything.

I have seen some recipes for butterbeer but have never tried it. I think we will just save that for a special Universal treat!

If your husband gets motion sickness...at least for me, Despicable Me was the worst one I have ever been on. I imagine others have no problem with it, but it was not a good choice for me. I will do FJ at least once on every trip just because and it does make me a bit sick...like I can't wait to get off. I am usually OK until towards the end when we are all flying around on the brooms and I just close my eyes. But having done DM for the first time, I can honestly say I don't think i would ever do it again. I will be happy to sit outside and hold everyone's bags..haha.

I need to dig out my park map for Sea World before I can do a trip report about that. We were there today. One thing...the park opened at 9am...but we got there about 8:50 and people were already going in the park. At 9:30 am we were walking and I couldn't help but notice how empty the park was. It got busier but never really crowded. Maybe for Sea World it was busy, but after being at Magic Kingdom the other day for rope drop....well, it was just totally different.

Have a good trip when you go!
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:41 PM   #11
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Great report Kelly! Thanks for taking the time to share I'll be down there 4/24-26(1st Universal trip) and I could use all the info & tips possible, looking forward to hearing about the rest of your stay.
Blessings to you for the rest of your vacation
Thanks!! Have fun on your trip as well! You will LOVE Universal. I will try and get some tips together soon. I realize now that instead of just posting what we did all day, I probably should have thrown in some tips and stuff in between the lines. I guess my post would have been super long if I did that though. I do have some tips we used..mostly stuff I learned on these boards and reading and asking questions, but a few we pick up along the way as make trips!

My kids really love US/IOA. Hope you do too!
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:46 PM   #12
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Oh, that's such a coincidence! We are staying at Emerald Island in August! Have never stayed there either, but the recommendations are quite good. Glad to hear you are enjoying it!

(Butterbeer--I pour a little whipping cream into cream soda. Everything is pretty close except the colour...I add yellow food colour, but that's not quite right. The kids love it though. The cream makes it fuzz up like an ice cream float.)

Looking forward to more when you have time.
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Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa

PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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