Orlando – day 19 (4th Dec)

Today was the last day of our trip to Orlando. It was strange packing up and leaving our room at the Caribbean Beach Resort at Disney World International. Of course my OCD kicked in and I had to go back to the room a couple of times to make sure we had everything with us.

We headed to Downtown Disney for a late breakfast and to use up our last quick serve meal. We settled on having a really good salad at Wolfgang Puck Express, as always washed down with a huge  soda drink. I picked up a couple of cookies for the dessert option and saved them for later. As we still had a bunch of snack options left on our dining plan, we used them on a bunch of bagged candy sweets.

Used up one of our Disney vouchers and picked up a free keyring from the Planet Hollywood Store. Spotted a lizard making his/her way to the shops. It’s a fairly happening place and who’s to stay it wasn’t going to have fun..

As we still had a bit of time to kill we drove to the Florida Mall for one last look around. Funny that we started our holiday at the Apple Store and pretty much finished it there.

Filled car up. Drove to airport. Left the car with AVIS who said we had no outstanding charges on the rental. Got a voicemail from a friend who had landed in Orlando a few days before. Just a shame I kept the phone off, otherwise we would have met up. Made it through security, despite Paul carrying cartons of milk is rucksack. Had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. As always, I went for the burger and had a lager with it.

We boarded the plane and few home. I can’t remember all the movies I watched, but one of them was Columbiana – which was good.

Landing at Gatwick was a bit of a shock. It was so cold. We also boarded the train slap bang in the middle of the morning rush hour. Some bitch almost pushed me off the train as I tried to get on with my suitcase. Welcome back to England! We made our way back to North London where my dad picked us up from the tube station. Tired we managed to get some sleep during the day.

Orlando – day 18 (3rd Dec)

Woke up really late.

Hollywood Studios

Beauty and the Beast
QS tasteless turkey panini with fries again they forgot the carrots. Strawberry parfait

Star Tours
Millennium Falcon. Hyperspace. Kashyyyk. Leia. Hyperspace. Federation blockade if Naboo. Fly down to planet. Get hit and go underwater to Gungan city. Attacked by sea creatures. Make it to Naboo space dock and crash into ship with cool 3D effect of ship smashing through viewport with flying glass.

Caught bus back. Feeling effects of bad food. Bad tummy.

Dinner at Jiko – The Cooking Place.

Orlando – Day 16 (1st Dec)

Hungover.

Hollywood Studios

Indiana Jones show
50′s Prime Time Diner
Peanut butter milkshake
Mama’s recipe medley
S’mores
Brownies

Star Tours millennium falcon. Hyperspace to tatooine. Pod race. Princess leia. Hyperspace. Jango Fett. Asteroids. Death Star. Sonic bomb. Hyperspace. Alliance ships.

Back lot tour
Lights motors action
Aerosmith

Darth Vader. Kysshk. Yoda. Jango Fett. Asteroids. Death Star. Sonic bomb. Hyperspace. Alliance ships.

American Idol round 5
American Idol Finale

Tried to find stuff to eat at the resort. Bit of a lame selection.

Orlando – day 15 (30th Nov)

Orlando – day 15

Animal Kingdom

It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Dinosaur x 3 + photo

Restaurantosaurus
Shrimp Po’Boy fries salad cheesecake
Visit to restroom R.E.M. It’s the End of the World playing.

Primeval Whirl
Flights of Wonder I held my dollar out for an African Crow

Finding Nemo – The Musical
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Fobidden Mountain

Had a humongous whipped ice cream twirl in a waffle cone.

Left the park.

Hit the pool bar for some pre-dinner drinks. For drunk on Caribbean limeade and Chardonnay.

Caught bus to Epcot. Monorail to Magic Kingdom. Monorail to The Contemporary Resort.

Dinner at the California Grill. Rachael was our waitress. Mad! Had scallops and three tuna sushis. Bison with mac & cheese. Fillet Steak with purple mash potato and broccoli. Cheese board and banana and caramel. Nice bottle of wine.

Caught monorail back to MK and then bus to CBR.

Orlando – day 14 (29th Nov)

Took bus to Magic Kingdom and then caught a boat to Grand Floridian resort so we could try a quick serve meal at Gasparilla Grill & Games. I went for the Angus Cheese Bacon Burger with fries and a root beer. Paul had a freshly prepared lobster salad and chatted to the chef who turned out to have been born in Scotland and moved to the US as a kid. For a quick serve meal, this was one of the best meals we had.

We took the Monorail back to the magic Kingdom and hopped onto the Walt Disney World Railroad from Main Street, USA all the way around once and then onto Frontierland.

One of our favourite rides from our first visit to Disney was Splash Mountain and it didn’t disappoint. We went on it twice, both times in the front row and was completely soaked for rest of day. The temperature wasn’t warm enough to dry off quickly and it was a bit chilly.

Next we went on…

  • Jungle Cruise – it was okay, but a little silly
  • Swiss Family Treehouse, but bailed out because I wasn’t keen on the heights.
  • Paul’s decided to dance his way out of out of Adventureland – video may follow…
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Fast pass for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – but never made it

Ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe : Deluxe Chicken Burgers with cucumber salad. They fluffed up order and served it with fries. We said it was supposed to have come with the side salad. They let us keep the fries and was also given the side salad. Paul had a chicken noodle soup instead of dessert. I had chocolate gelato.

Came back to the Caribbean Beach Resort and checked out Port Royale. Bit naff really.

I slept while Paul sorted out the laundry and chatted to the bar man.

Orlando – day 13 (28th Nov)

No surprise we got out later than planned. We caught the bus to the Animal Kingdom. This was something completely new, it was still being built the first time we came.

We went straight to the Kilimanjaro Safari as everyone said to get to it early as the animals tend to go for shade as the day gets hotter. We saw more animals than I thought we would and it was quite enjoyable.

Next we walked the Forest Exploration Trail. We saw birds and some bugs. The gorillas were stunning, but I felt sad for them stuck there behind the glass.

We caught the Wildlife Express Train up to a petting zoo, had a wander and caught the train back again. We made our way to the Asia section of the park and just managed to catch the Flights of Wonder bird show. It was very funny, a comedy show and worth watching.

We rode Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain twice.

Had lunch booked the Yak & Yeti Restaurant. Started with Dim Sum for two. We both opted for the Shaoxing Steak and Shrimp with stir fried veg, Jasmine rice and chilli plum dipping sauce.

It started to rain while we were having our meal so we opted for leaving the park. On our way out we caught Mickey’s Jungle Parade. The rain had subsided by this point so we stayed and watched it. As we didn’t leave, we decided to watch the Festival of the Lion King. One of the best shows Disney does. The large animatronic animals are just brilliant.

After a pitstop at our room we went to Magic Kingdom to watch the firework show Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, preceded by The Magic, The Memories, And You!

Then it was a quick trip on the Monorail to Epcot to catch the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks. Another trip on  the Monorail to Magic Kingdom for the extra hours late night opening for goes on the following rides.

  • Stitch’s Great Escape! – How dare Disney ruin the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter by replacing it with this pile of shite!
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Orlando – day 12 (27th Nov)

Today was Epcot day. We hoped on the bus and got there pretty early. It wasn’t so busy. I guess the Americans on their Thanksgiving holiday were more keen on The Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

We did the following activities:

Rode Test Track + picked up a fast pass for later
Mission:Space + picked up a fast pass for a second go later
Collected a fast pass for Soarin’
Watched Disney’s The Circle of Life movie
Rode Living with the Land
Walked to the Yacht Club for a quick service burger at Hannah’s Grill. It was quite a good burger and we took our dessert, ice cream to the dock to take a boat ride back to Epcot
Paul stopped for a Boddingtons at The Rose & Crown Pub in United Kingdom area at World Showcase
Rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Looked at the manatees, dolphins and aquariums
Checked out Turtle Talk with Crush which had Crush talking with the kids in the audience
Rode Soarin’ which for someone like me who hates heights was not so great
Went on Mission: Space for a second + picked up another fast pass
Second ride on Test Track
Final go on Mission: Space
Had my first pretzel while Paul had a lager.

Paul wore his birthday badge and got a lot of attention. One guy at the bus stop shouted “happy birthday Paul” and said he’d steal a Disney bus and take him around The Magic Kingdom, in the bus!

We went back to the room for a break. Tonight was extra magic hours at Hollywood Studios, open until midnight. So around 9pm we went back for a second visit.

First ride we headed for was Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith but the queues were still over an hour.

It’s sad but I love The Little Mermaid and as we were walking past it we ducked in to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It’s a show featuring three songs from the movie. It was quite good, even when it started to rain indoors on the audience.

We tried to get into the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream but just missed it. So we headed back to the Aerosmith ride. As we queued a large party of girls let us go in front of them as Paul was wearing his birthday badge. It was great as we ended up at the very front of the roller coaster. This ride starts so quickly all you can do is scream! The ride first photo looked okay, but I knew where the cameras were so we went back for a second go. This time we struck a pose, calm angelic I like to call it. We liked it so much we bought it.

We stopped for a later dinner. I had a chilli dog and Paul a BBQ pork roll. It sufficed.

We went back to the room with aching feet.

Orlando – day 11 (26th Nov)

We ended our stay at the Quality Inn on International Drive  it was time for our Walt Disney World part of the holiday. Eight days full of Disney!

We Checked in at Disney’s Caribbean Resort. The check-in clerk was friendly and explained everything in detail. He got Paul a happy birthday badge to wear, as we’re here as a 50th birthday treat. Unfortunately he wrote down the wrong room number, probably as he was too busy admiring my Doctor Who t-shirt.

Failing to find our room, it turned out that the clerk was a bit too happy with his “8′s” so after a chat with the front desk, we eventually ditched our luggage and made our way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

First ride we headed for was the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror but the queue was far too long. We grabbed our first set of fast passes, free at Disney. We next tried the Aerosmith coaster ride but the queue time was ninety minutes. Forget that!

We wandered around the park and eventually set our sights on Star Tours, the new and improved version of the ride we first went on around 13 years ago. With 50 different variations of the ride we ended up with Darth Vader trying to stop us leaving, hyperspacing  to Tatooine and into a pod race, Yoda telling us to bring our spy, and finally flying to Coruscant in the midst of a battle as C-3PO and Artoo try to land safely. For a basic simulator, the new film footage was just awesome!

Next we went to the Muppets 3D theatre, a show that Paul adores. Nothing has changed since we first saw it, but it’s still a very charming movie with an explosive finale as the theatre gets trashed by the penguin band and the Swedish Chef.

It was then time for lunch. Good job we made reservations before we came, the place wa heaving due to the Thanksgiving weekend. We’d booked Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano as we could also get fast entry to Disney’s Fantasmic!

Always feel like saying something else ending “mic!” but it’s a little too rude for Disney.

We arrived at the time of our booking, but had to wait 15 minutes to be seated. Kevin was our waiter and he was really good. As we’d booked the Fantasmic! meal package, our meal was upgraded to include appetisers, not included with the Disney Dining Plan. He let us have the Calamari for two plus the caesar salad to start with, as Paul was wearing his birthday badge . Paul had the tuna and I the sirloin strip steak followed by dessert;  pound cake with berries and amerettini cheesecake. Kevin also brought us a couple of complimentary shorts of sweet champagne. All in all it was our best meal since starting the trip.

After the very lovely lunch we used our fast pass for the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We loved this ride when it was part of the MGM Studios park before being rebranded as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was just as terrifying as I remembered. Love it!

Afterwards we took our seats for Disney’s water, light and fireworks show featuring Mickey Mouse himself in Fantasmic! What a great show. You can tell its popular as the whole auditorium was doing the Mexican wave several times before the show started.

Straight after that was another go on the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and then a more sedate experience on the The Great Movie Ride.

We ended the night with a second go on Star Tours. This time we started in a hangar bay with the Millennium Falcon and us blasting our way out and hyper spacing to Kashyyyk. After a flyby around the planet with the odd Wookie crashing into us and sliding off the front screen. Admiral Ackbar was our contact regarding the spy and again we headed to Coruscant and the same scenario.

Tired, we return to the room. Tomorrow Epcot.

Orlando – day 10 (25th Nov)

Paul wasn’t feeling too great after a bad night’s sleep. We decided on checking yet another mall nearby called Festival Mall. The place was dead. In fact it would’ve been great for a post apocalyptic zombie flick. We pottered about, stopping at the Universal Store to pick up a t-shirt for Paul’s niece and Ron Jon’s and a beenie hat for his nephew.

After that we stopped off at a Burger King, which was a bit of a mistake. We hadn’t eaten at one for so long, we forgot how bad the chicken options were.

We went onto the Universal Resort and made it through the gates at the Islands of Adventure but we were so bloated after BK we turned straight back out and into the AMC Cinema to watch Hugo.

We both enjoyed Martin Scorsese’s kid flick, though I thought the use of British actors with their British accents were a funny choice given the location was Paris. Sasha Baron Cohen who plays the Station Guard looked just like the idiot English spy/French police officer from ‘Allo ‘Allo!  It was a shame he didn’t have the same stupid accent.

We returned to the motel and did the necessities, our laundry for the week.

We were soon ready to return to City Walk at Universal for the last time. Hard Rock Cafe seemed like a food choice, but the place was rocking too hard and Paul was too unwell to deal with it. We headed into the Islands of Adventure thinking Mythos was open, but alas, the attendants at the gates were wrong. So we left the park and ended up at Pastamoré. We had the chicken marsala. It was okay but nothing special. We then left Universal’s Resort for the last time.

Back at the motel we discussed our plans for the following morning and the start of our Disney part of the holiday.