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Old 5 Sep 18, 02:44 PM  
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moosha
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It's The Greatest Hits Tour August 2018 - Index

Introduction and Index

Welcome to Florida trip report number 5. First up, we are:

Me, Michelle, lover of all things Disney, Florida and US holidays. Control freak, holiday planner and trip report writer. Favourite park is Hollywood Studios / Animal Kingdom and favourite ride is Flight of Passage.



DH, Mat. Works in Asset Management and his hard work and frequent travelling mean we get to take these lovely holidays. Part time music journalist. Loves Disney and the USA and finally came around to properly loving Universal this trip. Favourite park is Magic Kingdom and favourite ride is Slinky Dog Dash.



DD1, Seren, 12 at the time of the trip. Loves Disney especially Stitch, Harry Potter, music, reading, dancing and taking selfies. Seren is the family daredevil and would ride more thrill rides if she could get someone to go on with her. Despite almost entering the teenage years and being known to act like one occasionally, she’s generally happy, funny and shows no sign of outgrowing the likes of character meets and Fantasyland rides. Favourite park is Magic Kingdom and favourite ride is Rock N Roller Coaster.



DD2, Freya, 10 at the time of the trip. Loves Disney especially Marie, Harry Potter, gymnastics and running around like a crazy person. Freya is a free spirit with a heart of gold. She’s very stubborn but also hilarious. Favourite park is Magic Kingdom and favourite ride is The Mummy and Space Mountain.



The trip:

We had an amazing time on the Greatest Hits Tour.





This holiday was booked in part before we even went on last year’s Easter trip. The plan was to have a big three week holiday staying our favourite Disney / Universal hotels before having a couple of years off to go to California and / or other places. It would be our first experience of going in the summer holidays which was the reason for making it three weeks. We decided the heat and anticipated crowds would slow us down a bit so we wanted to be able to do everything at a slower pace.

We like to start our Orlando holidays at Universal, and this time we decided to stay four nights at the new Aventura hotel, mostly just chilling out and visiting Volcano Bay. When the opening of the Aventura hotel was pushed back a few weeks, our booking there was cancelled and I booked Sapphire Falls again. At the time I was really disappointed because I wanted to stay at Aventura but in the end we loved Sapphire Falls so much I think it worked out for the best.

We had two nights at the Hard Rock Hotel booked after Sapphire Falls so we could use the included Unlimited Express Passes for staying onsite. So those three days would be our Universal Park time. We had stayed at the Hard Rock in 2017 and it was a no-brainer that we would go back there in 2018 because we loved it.

We knew we wanted to be onsite at Disney for at least part of the holiday, and our first choice was the Yacht Club which had been the first Disney resort we had stayed at as a family, on the girl’s first trip in 2012. We were really excited about returning to the Yacht Club, especially as the hotel had recently been refurbished. We booked 10 nights at the Yacht Club with free Disney Dining Plan.

Here are the girls at the Yacht Club on our first trip:



And this year:



We also wanted to do a couple of nights at The Contemporary to be able to walk to Magic Kingdom (Mat and I had stayed there for part of our honeymoon in 2001 and loved it), and a couple of nights at Saratoga Springs to be able to walk to Disney Springs so that Mat could enjoy a few drinks there without having to rely on the Disney buses.

So the Greatest Hits:

Hard Rock Hotel
Yacht Club
Contemporary Resort
Plus of course all the parks and our favourite restaurants (Raglan Road, Jiko, Crystal Palace, California Grill, Tusker House)

Stuff that was new to us this year that we were excited for:

Volcano Bay
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Food and Wine Festival
Pandora and Toy Story Land
New restaurants: Ale and Compass, Skipper Canteen, Whispering Canyon Cafe
Going to see Taylor Swift in concert in Tampa
Four parks in one day

Here we are at the end of our four parks in one day challenge at a rainy Epcot:



This was also our first time in Orlando as vegans (Mat and I.) Initially I was really concerned about the food, especially in the parks, but I did my research. Vegandisneyworld and universalorlandovegans on Instagram were so helpful. I booked the restaurants with the best vegan options, plus made a list of quick service places that would be good for us. By the time we went, I was really confident that we would be able to eat well and we really did. Plus pretty much every server and restaurant were so accommodating and overall our first Orlando trip as vegans was a great experience.

I have always steered clear of giving each day of my reports a witty title simply because I can’t ever think of one and so many other trippie writers do it so brilliantly. But I have decided, inspired by what Helen (HelenJNT) is doing with her current report and what Jo (jojo88) did a few years ago, to give each day a subtitle. The subtitle will be a lyric from one of the songs on our holiday playlist which was titled ‘Flo-Rida 2018’. (Everyone else’s suggestion of Florididdypop whatever volume we would be on by now...about 4 maybe, was overridden by the control-freak who put the playlist together. That would be me.) Music is a massive love of all of ours and as the report title is music related too, I thought this was a good time to try this out. And I have about 100 songs on the playlist to choose from.

I think that’s enough rambling for now, so let’s just get on with it...

Pre-Trip Report

Highs and Lows

Day 0 - Travel to Gatwick, Giraffe and Bloc Hotel

Day 1 - Flying to Fort Lauderdale, Driving to Orlando and Checking into Sapphire Falls

Day 2 - Volcano Bay and Hard Rock Cafe

Day 3 - Sapphire Falls, Blaze Pizza, CityWalk Golf, Voodoo Donuts and Bob Marley's A Tribute To Freedom

Day 4 - Volcano Bay, Sweet Tomatoes, Florida Mall and Taylor Swift Concert in Tampa

Day 5: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Day 6: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Mythos and Sal's Market Deli

Day 7: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, The Cowfish and Antojitos

Day 8: Universal Studios, Checking into Yacht Club, Ale & Compass, Epcot and Sunshine Seasons

Day 9: Animal Kingdom, Tusker House and Blaze Pizza

Day 10: Hollywood Studios and Jiko

Day 11: Four Parks in One Day Challenge

Day 12: Ale & Compass breakfast, Winter Summerland, Disney Springs and Magic Kingdom

Edited at 03:49 PM.
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Old 14 Jan 19, 02:33 PM  
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Day 0 is now up .
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Old 18 Jan 19, 06:47 PM  
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Just posted day 1 .
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Old 19 Jan 19, 09:13 AM  
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Hi Michelle,

We are hopefully returning in October with my DD who is vegan. Will be following with interest to get ideas of places to eat.

Xx
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Old 22 Jan 19, 02:00 PM  
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Originally Posted by Merligan View Post
Hi Michelle,

We are hopefully returning in October with my DD who is vegan. Will be following with interest to get ideas of places to eat.

Xx
Thanks for following along Kate . We were so happy with our first experience at Disney and Universal as vegans. We ate so much great food and everyone was super helpful and accommodating. I would definitely recommend checking out Vegan Disney World and Universal Orlando Vegans on Instagram in advance..doing lots of planning really helped us xx.
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Old 22 Jan 19, 09:09 PM  
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Great start. Always enjoy your trip reports. You put so much detail in. It must be hard work but lovely for you all to look back on.
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Old 23 Jan 19, 03:57 PM  
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Great report so far, looking forward to the rest
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Old 25 Jan 19, 08:56 AM  
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Looking forward to this.DD and I are Veggies use the websites you mentioned...DIsney do cater well for us!
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Old 27 Jan 19, 01:17 AM  
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Enjoying this already. Subscribed!
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Old 28 Jan 19, 06:32 PM  
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So excited to find a vegan trip report! Its my first trip as a vegan this year I'm nervous about it I think Disney will be OK but universal and off site options appear to be trickier from what I've read. Looking forward to reading about your experience!
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