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Unread 5 Jan 15, 12:10 AM  
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onion2803
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Highs and Lows of a Halloween and Christmas trip!

Time to get a cup of tea and the leftover Christmas biscuits ready as it might be a long one!

Arghhh, been home almost two months and only just getting my Disney love back. Couldnt even watch Maleficent on the plane coming home i was so over Disney (shocking words!). I apologise if i get carried away and this sounds like a rant about our trip, i'm starting to look back fondly now, and it really was a great trip all in all we just had some incredible bad luck with things and a few minor nervous episodes on my part (entirely Bear's fault you understand)

Lows first so i can finish on a high;

The effingjeffing weather
Cant be helped, but I cannot begin to describe the cold and how unprepared i was for it. I didnt feel the rush of heat as we stepped out of airport and was disappointed but put it down to the late hour...that evening turned out to be one of the warmest!
Each time we went to a waterpark, it rained and i adopted my Mary Poppins 'isnt this just JOLLY!' voice as i stood in a bikini wondering if the rain would count as an exfoliation for my dry skin and watching the bruises form.
The cold was not warded off by my leggings, nor my $60 mickey hoodie complete with ears (a bargain i told Bear, two for the price of one!), and the second i put my brand-new first-ever pair of chesnut uggs on, it rained! Cue nervy breakdown, a lot of stomping and stamping
The weather didnt ruin the trip but i was really gutted about it whilst we were there, it was v frustrating watching the news channel say it was the coldest November since 92. Looking back, im thankful (aside from the waterpark and tanning days) our plans weren't derailed and the crowds were v low.
One of our holiday photos is a shot of my weather app on phone showing Orlando as 1c and Liverpool as 12c
Having said all of this, we did have one or two scorchers. Typically though we had fastpasses for Hollywood Studios - is it just me or are all the rides inside? We laughed about this and took to sitting on benches people watching with an icecream instead of going on most of the rides, but we did miss out on lot of rides i think.

Disney Club Level
Hmmm. Not sure what to say, it was ok? For the price i was expecting more. We stayed in Wilderness Lodge in a honeymoon suite, i really just wanted a normal club room but that seemed to fall on deaf ears and room requests can never be guaranteed as they say! Food and service was alright, nothing special. Room was the same. Nothing great to say about it, so for me it just wasnt worth the price.
I also had the next meltdown here when we booked horse riding at FW with the concierge as she wrote down entirely the wrong instructions and we missed our slot and lost our money for the ride! It was ironed out eventually after i made a complaint, we got our money back and got on a later ride but it scuppered our plans for the day which was upsetting at the time. First world problems! I guess we just expected a little more magic.

Epcot
I know im alone with this opinion, but my god it was awful. Came off Soarin' with a startled look wondering why anyone queues for it? It was so dated and dull! Same with Test Track...Sorry to all who love them, i dont want to upset anyone
Im still gutted they got rid of Maelstrom so our walk around World Showcase was just as dull. I dont know, maybe it will grow on me next time!

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian
Possibly one of the funniest moments of my life. I have to point out that we are the politest customers ever in restaurants etc...i hate rudeness in any situation, but it makes my blood boil when people have no manners or think they're somehow better than those serving them food or helping them in a shop. Now that is cleared up...the waiter in here HATED us from the outset, Bear suspects it was because we were English and therefore not outwardly impressed by the sight of a teapot and knitted cosy, i suspect things went down hill when i asked for the chocolate milk instead of fruity tea. What came next was just awful, I mean, yellow pickled beetroot sandwich? Is there something wrong with tuna? ham? salmon? I couldnt stop giggling, it was like Dibley's own Leticia Croppley was doing the cooking. This was made worse by the scone course, which was served with lemon curd (!) and no clotted cream, and then the choice of spiced pumpkin and apple trifle, or a 'delicate trio of pastries'. Bear was horrified when the pastry swan came out. I couldnt breathe for laughing. It was $50 plus tip and absolutely not worth a penny. Very funny though

The number 8 Lynx
I have nothing but positive things to say about the Lynx and i-ride services, except for the monstrosity that is the number 8. It was a miracle if it even turned up at all. It seemed to have a lot of locals waiting on it too, so they gave the driver grief whilst we slunk on with our heads down secretly pleased we didnt have to get all shouty and shirty.
Felt a bit like a Lady-of-the-Night when taxi's slowed down and beeped at us waiting at the bus stop too I understand its just what taxi's do over there, but im far more used to having to stand in the centre of the road waving manically to get a drivers attention so it was offputting to be trailed around by them late at night.

Bear's specific lows - being mistaken for a girl a lot due to his voluminous hair, the pastry swan, explaining English Breakfast tea in every restaurant before opting for a safe decaf coffee (party animal!), running back for milk whenever he managed to find a cup of tea, and It's a Small World. Pah.

Highs, Yayy!

Virgin flight
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Had an oddbod at the back of the bubble who seemed to want to stand for the entire flight, including taxi-ing to the gate and was rude to staff
I was so comfy up in the bubble and had to struggle not to wear my smug-bug face coming down the stairs when we landed and seeing everyone queued up food was delicious too (we had the chicken) and the drinks were lovely.

Rosen Inn @ Pointe
Perfect location. Hated our i4 facing room so they moved us no problem, was so clean too. Beds comfy, coffee maker also made tea thank god. Pool was heated enough for a quick dip but it took me a while to clamber in. Really couldnt ask for more from this hotel. They did charge me for packages that were delivered, i know some people got away with not being charged, but i cant grumble about that. Would defo return.

All Star Sports
Stayed here on Halloween night and it was lovely. We were late arriving and had a breakfast reservation at 9.45 at Kona Cafe, i asked about the quicket way to get there and she handed me a complimentary taxi slip and said it was on Disney!
Pool was lovely and warm, rooms were spacious and clean. Shuttles from hotel were really good too.

Hard Rock Hotel
Super late arriving here as we (Bear) had misplaced our park tickets so we missed early entry to Harry that morning. My face must have been thunderous because the lovely lady at check in upgraded us to Club for free...and OMG it was amazing! I had to complete some kind of high jump manoeuvre to get onto the bed it was so high. Best nights sleep ever. The food in club room was gorgeous, the day always starts well with a mimosa, and the bar man kept my glass topped to the brim with red wine in the evening
Pool was FREEZING, but there were real ducks bobbing around in it so i was in my element, cocktails lush, and they played harry potter on the big screen at night. Fab singer on in the afternoon. Felt like such a smug bug going to 7th floor in the lift too

All things Harry Potter
Walked onto Gringotts every time (although we did use single rider, we were only seperated once) so that was a wonderful start to our Harry day. Diagon Alley...WOW. Burst into tears, as you do, when the dragon burped fire. Salted caramel blondie icecream in Diagon was delish, food in Leaky Cauldron was also yummy. And the shops...we had to buy two new suitcases to come home enough said!

Safari at Busch Gardens
Hand feeding a giraffe was an amazing experience!

Not So Scary Halloween Party and Villains Dessert Party
Went on Halloween night so it was rammed. We had a special spot to stand for parade and fireworks due to our Villain party ticket which was really welcome! We ended up with lots of sweets, some questionable ones like the odd chocolate marshmallow that looked like a little poo
Villain party was at 11.40 so we were flagging by that point, plus it was also our first day in Orlando. Soon perked up when i spotted the cheese board, loved the Maleficent cups and poison apple glowcube. Lots more sweets too. The Villains themselves were hysterical, and im so happy we got pictures with them, they were really good fun and spent a lot of time with us. I would recommend it. Once in a lifetime experience and i loved every second.

Discovery Cove
Met a sloth, fell in love. Met a stingray, had a heart attack. Food yummy too. V relaxing day.

Wilderness Lodge Hidden Springs pool
Beautiful surroundings, and WARM which was v welcome

Christmas Decorations
Just so pretty, and the Osborne Lights really blew us away. Felt very Christmassy walking through the snow looking at all the twinkly lights!

FOOD
Kona Cafe, didnt like Tonga Toast coffee was yummy and i climbed the walls for a good two hours afterwards! Would go back for the goats cheese omelette *slobbers*
Be Our Guest, cried in here too. Seated in the ballroom, we had the French Onion Soup, Lamb and Grey Stuff...cant gush enough over this meal, worth every penny!
Sanaa, really good server and sat in the window watching the animals. Lovely meal here (bread service, butter chicken and lamb).
Millers Ale House - zinger melt. Nothing more to say. We are literally basing our next Disney trip on the location of hotel to nearest Millers.
Outback - landed upon a 'Date Night' deal (onion loaf, two steaks, two sides, two salads, dessert for $40 ) and everything was amazing. Service really good here too.
Whole Foods salad bar...WOWWWWWW. Morrisons salad bar has nothing on this.
God i miss the food over there

Bears specific highs - walking into Diagon Alley/Hogwarts and being addressed as a Wizard, goats cheese omelettes and zinger melts, Gastons Tavern because no one but Gaston appreciates his biceps , Disney fireworks, Kasbah fountain in Universal because it soaked a particularly bratty child, the scarily polite American children, getting a whole in one on Pirate Adventure golf - its the small things!


Phew! Sorry to have yakked on and on.
We did so much on this trip, as i didnt know if we would ever go back - with hindsight i think we did too much and if the slightest thing went wrong, i lost the plot as my perfect planning evaporated Buses were a little stressful too, v easy to use but took so long to get anywhere!
I think also had high expectations of the Disney i remember from trips as a kid that just didnt exist anymore...Peter Pan has definitely changed, characters no longer roaming around, fastpasses tying you to times and days, the weather...
Luckily, Bear has insisted we return this year and im very grateful to be able to go back so quickly. I wont be driven to drink if my plans start to crumble this time and we'll definitely be taking it a little slower! Having said this, yesterday we were adamant we would only visit MK and TL but today we've decided it just makes sense to buy an Ultimate ticket and visit all the parks again

Big thank you to Dibbers for helping me plan our trip, and for all your thoughts and suggestions (getting on the resort monorail at the end of MK and not the express one...major lifesaver!) I dont think i could have done it without all your help!

Now to begin planning the next trip... xx
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 01:09 AM  
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Twentyyears
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Sounds like you had a great time but the weather spoilt quite a Few peoples trips- we had the same Xmas 2012.
Glad you enjoyed the special events and we had been tempted with the tea at GF but I think we will now give it a pass- some things are just best left to us Brits!
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 02:36 AM  
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we had the little poo sweeties as well
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 05:47 AM  
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There were a few cold evenings weren't there? We didn't mind as we prefer cold to heat. We never got to a waterpark as they were closed both days we tried! Better than our 2010 trip which was minus 2 most days though. At least I didn't wear a winter coat every day this time!

I agree about BOG - wonderful lamb chops. But I have to ask what is wrong with a choux paste swan? My hubby is a pastry chef and they are a traditional pastry, he has made quite a few in his time.

We had afternoon tea at the GF too and it was excellent. Lemon curd is a little strange but it was home made and very good, and according to our Florida friends it's a tradition of the restaurant. We knew you can't get clotted cream in America so were expecting ordinary cream anyway, but there was also strawberry jam. We have had afternoon tea in quite a few UK hotels and this was slightly different but just as good. We had the Buckingham one for $35 which was pretty good value for what we had. Service was a little flustered as they had problems with the kitchen, but they certainly treated us well.

Loved Diagon Alley too, I like idea of Bear being a wizard!

Edited at 05:50 AM.
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 10:26 AM  
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I enjoyed reading that - its nice to hear that unfortunately not all will be perfect! And its reiterated with me to keep my expectations on an even keel - i am so glad you had a lot of highs and the crowds were low! The thought of low crowds makes me ecstatic! ( june july for us we will get the heat all right! And the rain but a lot of crowds! )
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 10:41 AM  
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Ah we're staying in same three hotels sounds like you had a great time
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 12:17 PM  
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If I fancy a "decent " cuppa when out, I always ask for hot tea. Before I realised that I used to get iced tea - yuck.
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Unread 5 Jan 15, 01:04 PM  
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onion2803
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Originally Posted by Twentyyears View Post
Sounds like you had a great time but the weather spoilt quite a Few peoples trips- we had the same Xmas 2012.
Glad you enjoyed the special events and we had been tempted with the tea at GF but I think we will now give it a pass- some things are just best left to us Brits!
Originally Posted by Gill H View Post
There were a few cold evenings weren't there? We didn't mind as we prefer cold to heat. We never got to a waterpark as they were closed both days we tried! Better than our 2010 trip which was minus 2 most days though. At least I didn't wear a winter coat every day this time!

I agree about BOG - wonderful lamb chops. But I have to ask what is wrong with a choux paste swan? My hubby is a pastry chef and they are a traditional pastry, he has made quite a few in his time.

We had afternoon tea at the GF too and it was excellent. Lemon curd is a little strange but it was home made and very good, and according to our Florida friends it's a tradition of the restaurant. We knew you can't get clotted cream in America so were expecting ordinary cream anyway, but there was also strawberry jam. We have had afternoon tea in quite a few UK hotels and this was slightly different but just as good. We had the Buckingham one for $35 which was pretty good value for what we had. Service was a little flustered as they had problems with the kitchen, but they certainly treated us well.

Loved Diagon Alley too, I like idea of Bear being a wizard!
Oh please dont let me put you off Twentyyears, you might like it! Maybe we went on a bad day because lots of people do love it. I'm really into my afternoon tea but this was just odd, and pretty bland to be honest, but it might have just been a bad day.

Gill the pastry swan honestly tasted like a flip flop, and contained this strange pumpkin mousse concoction. V pretty though! Haha, im glad you enjoyed it, I wish we had too but it wasn't meant to be for us.
Im v jealous your husband is a pastry chef, you must get some yummy treats off him! xx
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