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Old 25 Sep 16, 12:28 PM  
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Jillzo
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Location: Scottish Borders
Orlando holiday sum up!

So arrived back on Wednesday and just getting over the jet lag! Came back with tonsillitis though so that is making being back even worse!
We had a great time. Only thing that held us back a bit this year was the humidity it really got us! It did make us feel a bit better when the locals were moaning about it as well.
So I thought I was just give an overall some up of our holiday.
We live in the Scottish Borders and only last year had the Borders rail line built to connect us to Edinburgh, so we decided this year instead of taking the car, we would train it and would do this again. It was so easy and less stressful. It took in total about 4.5 hours.
We flew Thomas Cook premium, and I would highly recommend it. We got to do Sundown check in the night before and dropped our suitcases off, this was great and made the early trip to the airport next morning much easier. We stayed the night before at the Travelodge in Altrincham Central, this was a bargain at 29. Taxi ride was about 15 minutes and cost about 15 one way. Even with this being a return journey, it was still way cheaper than any price quoted for an airport hotel. We also ate there (and had a few drinks! ). Food was really good and great value as well.
Travel day we just turned up at the airport and straight to security very handy! Terminal 1, has plenty shops, cafes and bars to keep you occupied.
As we were premium, we were called to board first, so we were seated about 45/50 mins before take-off, and given our sparkling wine and mini pretzels. It was very relaxing and very chilled out.
No issues with the flight, it went by very quick. Stewards and stewardess were friendly and interacted well on both trips. Good choice of films and TV shows. Food was good I had the beef curry. Also cant beat the cheese and biscuit selection! Afternoon tea served before landing, filled rolls, carrot cake and a scone, good range of drinks available also.
Didnt take too long to get through MCO, the self-service machines make things a lot easier we did wait about 45 mins on our luggage though.
Flight home was also very quick.
At MCO, I was getting a bit irritate at the departure gate, and other half was getting annoyed at me, but maybe some of you Dibbers can defend me here! It was pretty clear that the flight was going to be delayed abit, as there was no staff at the desk and the flight was due to depart in half an hour. There were people starting to queue at the desk? When the Thomas Cook crew arrived, they sat at the seats at the front of the departure gate, more people started to get up and queue? Now to me if the crew are sitting down, you are not boarding anytime soon as they still have all their checks to do! About 15 mins later people came to set the desk up and the crew got up and went through the doors more people stood up and started to queue? I really dont understand this at all? Surely you are better having a seat and just chill out until your rows/seats are called? Then the most annoying thing, I knew it would be special assistance called first then premium passengers, no one from the queue moved! We had to queue around them, say excuse me and hardly anyone moved! People were giving you funny looks and tutting etc.! Really frustrated me! I know it isnt a big deal, but I just done understand it!
Meal on the way home was chicken or beef, I had the chicken and it was great, I even got 2 bread rolls! Breakfast was also good, but it was smallest Pain au chocolate I have ever seen!
Both flights were pretty uneventful and I felt very relaxed on both flights.
We took off an hour late due to a storm in the area, however managed to land at the same time so that was pretty handy! Our train home wasnt until 10am and we were through immigration etc. by 8.15am, so we had a bit of a hang about, but went for a coffee and time passed pretty quick. Most depressing train journey home though!

We stayed at the Rosen Plaza on International Drive we found this to be a great location. Nice reception area, good choice of food options, deli open 24 hours a day, and do serve good coffee! Majority of staff were nice, however did receive a bit of bad service on one occasion. The glasses in our room one day were dirty (lipstick marks, juice or something on the bottom of the glasses), so I took them down to reception and asked if I could get replacements, the receptionist asked me to go and find the cleaners and ask them myself! Not impressed and said no, that wasnt up to me to do that. She had a bit of a huff and puff, took my room number and said, well Ill see what I can do! About 2 hours later someone did come and replace the glasses but no apology! It isnt really a big deal, but a sorry would have been nice! This is a convention hotel, and there was quite a few on when we were there. Majority of attendees were fine; however, you always get the chosen few who make things that bit awkward!
This was not a Disney holiday for us, we do either an IDrive holiday or stay in the bubble and do only Disney. This was the first time I have to admit, I missed my Disney fix! So we did SeaWorld, Universal and IOA. As well as A LOT of shopping and spending time on IDrive, there is so much to do.
The shuttle from the hotel to the parks was not ideal (left at 11am and returned at 4.30pm), so we used Uber to get too Universal and IOA. I would highly recommend them. All the drivers we had were friendly, and it was so cheap! We used the ITrolley for IDrive, shopping and SeaWorld.
SeaWorld I know that this park can divide opinion (my sister actually fell out with me before we went when I said I was going! ), but we love this park. I am excited to see what the future holds for this park as by the looks of things, the Shamu stadium and show will be going and the Orcas will be in a more natural environment. You get a sense in the park of a more animal rescue type feel and it is interesting to see all the work that they do. Other half has a new favourite roller-coaster in Orlando Mako. This ride is amazing! I was nervous of the harness, but actually it adds to the ride and makes it more exciting.
IOA I have heard mixed reviews on Kong, but we loved it! It was not what I expected at all and was very impressed. Wait times for this ride were crazy, however we were lucky and managed to only wait in a queue that was 30 mins. As ever Harry Potter area was super busy, but it is such a nice area of the park and the theming is amazing. One thing we didnt manage to do was the Hulk, which I am gutted about! It was either too long a queue (I dont wait longer than 40 mins!) or it was down which was actually quite a lot. We heard on one occasion it was down and someone had unclipped their harness on the ride to see what would happen! This put the ride down for about 2 hours.
Universal/HHN 26 It is our favourite park. Diagon Alley is fantastic; you feel like you are in the film! My new favourite ride in Orlando is Gringotts! The actual ride and the story is amazing I loved it! We also did HHN when we there and had a fab time! We bought the frequent fear pass which allowed us to be there on opening night. We went for 3 nights. I would highly recommend this event to anyone who is up for a laugh, doesnt mind being a bit scared and loves to see the park at night! A lot of the rides were open, and we rode Rip Ride Rocket at night, which was a whole new experience! The scare actors at HHN are brilliant and the houses themselves are unbelievable. A special mention must go the Exorcist, it looked like the actual house, with the lamppost, and I was terrified before I even went in! We met a few You Tube bloggers as well such as Tim Tracker and KrispySmore. My tip for this would be that you cannot do this event in one night unless you pay extra for the express pass, we paced ourselves for the 3 nights and managed all the houses without queueing longer than 30 mins and had a great time in the park as well.
Shopping Although we managed to spent quite a lot on my credit card! I did find that there wasnt as many deals this year. We found you really had to hunt to find the bargains, and although we got a few, not nearly as many as previous years.
Food I only want to mention a couple of places here as I cannot remember everywhere that we ate! Completely lost my appetite about 5 days in due to the humidity though! Pointe Orlando on IDrive has something for everyone, we ate in a few places here. Only word of warning I would give is that if there is a big convention on, you will find quite a few places close for private events and convention attendees only. Cowfish at City Walk I wasnt impressed. I am not a big fan of sushi but other half loves it so I thought we would give it a try. There were a few big parties in and the waiter wasnt really interested in us and gave majority of attention to the larger parties. We didnt get given a drinks menu so I asked if they had blush wine, he simply replied no and stared at me! I thought at least he might have suggested another type of wine, but he didnt, and he kept looking around at the other larger table, so I just had a coke! Food was ok, but I wouldnt rush back, other half agreed, he said sushi was ok, but nothing special. Margaretville as always brilliant! I love the service you receive here, food and drink good. I had the Cheddar BBQ burger with sweet potato fries, other half had fish tacos our plates were clean! Dave and Busters was another great meal! I had the bang bang chicken OMG my mouth is watering just thinking of it! It was outstanding! A lot of people over look this place to eat, but I would highly recommend it. Special mention for drinks must go to Millers Ale House they sell prosecco! That honestly made my night!
As previously mentioned, we had a great holiday, with more pool days than normal due to the humidity. In September we normally get a storm every afternoon and you could pretty much set your watch to the time it would hit, not this year, I think we had 3 for the whole two weeks.
Both other half and I agree that Disney is calling us! We discussed on our holiday that Disney does actually suit us better as the parks are open later and everything is just there. We are planning on going to the bubble in 2018, it will also be our 10th Wedding Anniversary so it should be extra special!
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Old 25 Sep 16, 01:19 PM  
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MummyPeeper
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I just wanted to say a big thank you for your thoughts, I love reading these.
Also good to hear good things about Thomas Cook as we fly for the first time with them on our next trip.
Can't wait to try Kong and may need to add Margaritaville to our list.
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Old 25 Sep 16, 01:22 PM  
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mollybogle
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Sounds like you had a great holiday. We aren't doing sea world this year but would like to go back to see what changes they have made. I know what you mean about people queuing for the flight. On our flight out people started queuing before they had actually announced the gate (we knew where it was because the flight attendants headed there) and when they announced upper class and or people who were queuing were muttering "they can't all be UC". When they shout out the rows of someone has went up early they should make them wait.
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Old 25 Sep 16, 01:22 PM  
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