29 January 2011

Florida 2010

Florida 2010

I was a tad nervous about this whole trip…problems at work, Grandpa sick and a time share. We had never booked a time share. I read the reviews online and some were good, a free great, and many BAD ones. I had all ready decided that I would throw a fit if needed. When we approached the resort exit, it was easy to tell that it was NOT in the tourist district…PLUS 1 for the Tiki’s. It was 8 miles from I 4 and 6 miles from the Disney West gate. NICE! We had a brand new super Target and 2 Publix and not a lot of tourists.

The resort looked inviting on the outside, you had the little Tiki Gods holding up the sign and very landscaped lawns. When I entered the lobby, it was spread out and open. This was tad confusing, I went to the “check in” desk but because I was with a time share I had to go to an additional check in desk. I got my room key and the girl sent me down the counter to our “resort guide”. She wanted to get me Disney tickets cheap. All I had to do was listen to a vacation club talk. NOPE!!! I am not doing that I said. “I own the time share, I am in and don’t need anything else” She continued to offer me more things for 1 hour or 30 minutes of my time and I said “NO, I am going to my room” and that was the end. It was not as high pressured as I expected.

We drove around to our unit the 1200 unit that I had read good reviews about online. Our room was 12331F. We opened the door and were knocked out by a very FISHY smell. YUCK! I got out the air freshener fast! We had one bedroom, one bath, a pullout sofa, a kitchen, a dining room and laundry. We also had a bonus foyer, which was nice to store stuff. The room was clean (YAY) and stocked well. There was a vacuum, dishes, laundry detergent, dish detergent, a dish washer; a living room….it was nice.

Everything in the unit worked fine except the front AV jacks on the tv, but we could plug the wii into the back AV jacks. There were NOT enough blankets supplied and the sheets for the couch are NOT fitted so they do not stay on well. I will bring sheets next time.

Now for the water park…well, it was NOT what I expected. The site says “five water slides”, I assumed they were “water slides” because it did not say anything about being Kiddie slides. They were kiddie slides L. And the site said that there was a wave pool. The wave pool was one corner of a pool and it just had jets L. Not fun! The lobby pool was nice. Zero gravity pool, hot tub and very uncrowded! This is where we spent pool time. We never ventured onto the tennis courts, basketball courts or the golf course….NO TIME!!

What did we do? Monday is was Disney….well, EPCOT to be exact. EPCOT is the favorite park so it was a no brainer. We did our touring plan and had a marvelous day. We first fast passed Soarin’ then rode Test Track, Mission Space, Universe of Energy and then back to Soarin. Here we saw the Heath gang. Our baseball coach, Steve Shelby (my touring plan buddy) and all their families. It was fun to sit next to Steve on Soarin’. This was in the first hour! We fast passed Soarin again, rode Living with the Land and then headed over to Journey into imagination and the Living Seas. After that we could relax a bit and just take it easy. We decided to eat. Hannah and I ate at Sunshine Seasons (my favorite ala cart place at WDW) and the boys ate at Electric Umbrella. My salad was superb as always. I always get the salad grown at EPCOT and the tuna salad…YUMMY! Hannah always gets the chicken leg and mashed potatoes.

After lunch we headed over to World Showcase. Trevor was going to do a Kidcot mask because he has never done one (have no idea why). We got over to France and entered the Kidcot station and low and behold who was there but Mark and Grant Eyer. We spent a little time with the guys and joined up with Heidi and waited for Marie. After that, Mark decided to kill my son J and then we had to get back to ride Soarin again. This was designed as a break for my family who don’t really like the countries, they only go to humor me. After that we started where we left off….France. As we approached America, the Kool and the Gang concert was about to start. ………… Yeah we watched it…our kids were bored to death, but we knew all the words. It was very cool and I got great photos of drunken ladies dancing in the aisles and with the band.

When Kool was over we once again trekked on through the countries…..not much happened until Mexico where we got to eat some very good tacos. Well, it depends on who you ask. I thought they were good Hannah hated them.

We ended the day by the boys watching Illuminations and the girls running back to do Test Track one more time! It was an amazing ride and worth the running across the park that Hannah and I did to get there.


Once everyone got moving we got into the car and headed over to Daytona. It was a nice quiet ride across I 4. And it was quiet in Daytona. We got on A1A and headed down the strip. It was nice to look around at everything as we have not been able to go to Daytona since 2005. We found the hotel that John and I stayed in on our honeymoon, and low and behold it is STILL a dump!!! We found a real gem on the strip, something that was NOT there the last time we were there….Sloppy Joe’s. Now this takes us back to Key West. Yep, we ate there. I had the famous Sloppy Joe….yummy and I had to school my daughter on who “papa” was. She had never heard of Hemingway. What are the schools teaching children, no Hemingway? That is an issue for later. We traveled back to Orlando and a good nights sleep, tomorrow is Universal Studios.

Universal Studios

Well, I was a bit nervous about this too. I remember last time we went to Universal is was roller coasters and I don't do coasters. Not at all, but I was excited that Trevor would get to see Harry Potter. That is exciting anyway because that part of the park just opened in June so Trevor would be one of the first people to go there.

It was very easy to get him a pass for the lines. I just went to guest service and they took care of him quickly. That is always nice. It did not matter in most instances. I had read that Spiderman was one of the greatest rides on the planet, so we headed there first. WOW!!!WOW!!!WOW!!! This was a little bit of wonderful. It is a simulator, part 3-D, part live action, part animation, all thrills! It had real flames, real water, spidey would talk to us like he was in the car with us. What is happening is you get in this car and are traveling through town. Spiderman is with you and Doc Oct grabs your car and shakes you trying to kill you. What happens next is that a bunch of villains begin to bother your car and spidey has to save you. And succeed he does.

Next we just walked about a bit and saw a place to eat lunch. We got the all you can eat package and planned to take advantage of it. We stopped for the first meal in the cartoon type restaurant. It was just OK! We did get this large bottle of coke that we could refill and that was very nice.

WE kept walking and around a bend we saw this giant castle. Yep, that's it HOgwarts. It was so lovely. I have always loved castles so it was exciting in that aspect but that is about all. As you are walking around towards the castles you enter Hogsmeade. It is like a throw back to olden times and I loved it instantly. The town was snow covered and a snowman greeted you as you entered the city gates. WE went inside Honeydukes, and it was sort of cool. The kids liked it but they knew what all the stuff was and I did not. There were butterbeer carts everywhere but I have no idea what that is at this point in time. No, I have not ever read the books and never cared to. There was the HOgwarts train and a conductor standing outside. The kids had their photo made in front of it and it was very cool. We sent John over to the Dragon's Challenge because I heard it was fun for roller coaster folks. So we went into Diagon Alley to watch John on the coaster. We did not know if he was on fire or ice, but I am telling you I was scared. I knew that the coasters were 12 inches apart from each other when you were in the middle of the ride and the riders were upside down. John got a little woozy...not good. But then we climbed the hill and headed to Hogwarts. I wanted so badly to go inside this castle and here we go. We showed Trevor's pass and they let us right in. We climbed some stairs and got into the ride line. OH MY GOSH, this ride was the best thing I have ever done. I had no idea what any of it meant. I have since studied Harry and read the books so now I know that Argog, the dementors, and he who must not be named. It was so good, that we got back in line to ride it again. We got right back in line and got on the ride within minutes. It was just as thrilling the second time and actually I wanted to ride it again, but John got sick. Very sick!!! While we were waiting for him to get better we rode the Flight of the Hippogriph. That was a family friendly coaster and not bad at all for someone like me that doses not like coasters.

We took at break and ate lunch in Dr Seuss, this was way better than the last place that we ate.

After lunch we headed to Poseidon. I have no idea what movie this is from but the show was very interesting. I enjoyed it.

After this we headed back to Harry. The wait was 80 minutes but we got right on. After that we headed to the old Universal. WE did the Twister, which is just like it was in 97 and a bit dated. We did the Simpsons (I hated it but everyone else liked it), Men in Black (we did this twice it was so fun), Jaws (I loved Trevor's reaction), ET (just as cool as I remember), and we ate dinner. That's all for today folks.

The next morning Grandpa called with problems but we decided we could not get home in time so we carried on waiting for news on him. We rode the Harry Potter ride again (I think 2 or 3 more times), the Nick show (nice), Shrek (nice except that you have to stand). I met Lucy and Ricky and Marliyn Monroe while everyone else did the Terminator show. We rode the spiderman a couple more times and I think that we did the DR Suess train this day too. All in all, Universal was great and hooked me on the HP bandwagon.

We left Fl early before we were scheduled because we felt we needed to get home for Grandpa, but it was a great trip and I want to go again.