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Old 26 Aug 13, 03:20 PM  
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Join Date: Oct 12
Location: Ireland
August 2013 - Aliens to Florida Trip Report

I hope it's not against the rules to post one tirp report rather then daily reports

Flight with Aer Lingus - flying direct was great. Food and entertainment was rubish compared to KLM flight we used to come back from LA, but still - clearing emigration and direct was great. We had our own food on the way back. DS was happy with it, and slept half of the way on the way back. I absolutely hate long flights, but I suppose no other way around it!

Taxi from the airport to Floridays was apr 55 including tip, and we had no issues getting one.

Check in Floridays without any issues. They asked for 50 usd a day hold on credit card, but visa debit was ok to use too. For the 3 weeks they put 700 hold so may be this is the max. No other fees were put on our account for the duration of the stay and the 700 was released on check out. We stayed in 610E, Irish owned condo. The condo is lovely, the pictures really don't show how comfortable everything is - the beds, couch, washing machine dryer, coffee machine, tvs, fridge, wifi everything you could need for a holiday condo was there. Block E is near the small pool. We used combination of both pools, both weren't very deep at all so DS was able to manage. It really isn't very far from main pool, the reports in trip advisor make it sounds like it's miles away - it isn't! Both pools got crowded at times, and the main pool was open till 10 at night, but I suppose it's peak season. Block E is very quiet at night, we had no issues with noise at all. DH wasn't impressed by the bar, as it's full of kids until late at the big pool, screaming and yelling so not really nice to have a drink around but to be honest it's small complaint and if you do have teenage kids it would be a good thing. The food in Floridays is ok, not great but ok for lazy day. There is also starbucks coffee on site.

Picture from the condo if you look left. If you look straight you will be facing the car park. This is the smaller pool, very early in the morning and to be honest it wasn't always quiet.

Herz car hire - We hired standard SUV and we got nearly new Chevy Captiva. The price was 485 euro for the 3 weeks with a deal of 30% off, booked well in advance. Lovely very easy to drive car. On location we pre paid for tank of petrol - 62 usd. We collected it from I drive on first morning after arrival. No hard sale, there wasn't any other cars we could get on location - but we were told to come back if we have any issues with the car. 200 usd hold on card, released on day of return and all charges as expected. The only comment here is to watch out for price of gas as they call it as DH went to some gas station and got it for 5'99 when all other stations were apr 3'3. The price of gas can be really huge, it's not like here nearly all same.

I-ride - we only used it once to collect our car hire. Don't expect to get the comfort of dublin bus. It's hard to imagine a seat being more uncomfortable then they are, it's wooden bench type of thing. Took us hour to get there, 10 minutes to return with the car. We didn't use it again. If you are not staying on site and plan to do and see allot I would say hire a car. The distance between everything is huge, it's so easy to drive, and public transport isn't really that great.

We had short walk to Publix first day, lovely store with allot of fresh produce - we bought allot of pre cut fruit for the parks, and also hot food witch we bought for first night. I would compare it to Superquinn or Sainsburries

Edited at 10:45 AM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 03:20 PM  
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Location: Ireland
Disney Parks - The First two weeks we spend visiting Disney Parks. We had photopass+ pre purchased and I will highly recommend it. Truly the most beautiful holiday photos we ever had.

Epcot - We visited Epcot twice, first park day another half day. Disney parks are magic, they really made us want to do more and see more! Epcot is not exception. It's devided to two parts - Future world and World Showcase. First day we collected fast passes for test track and we hit the world showcase. This part of the park opens at 11 so we were there for it's opening. The return time on fast pass for Test Track was between 3 to 4, so we toured the countries at slow paste starting from the two rides in Mexico and Norway. I had few drinks in different parts including baileys cold coffee type of drink from Norway ? It was yum. Loved it, loved the street performers, the small shops, the streets - really cool park. Back to the Future World, we did the test track ride which end up being one of DS favourites. We didn't watch any movies in World showcase, I wish we did but most of them aren't seated (apprat from France I think) and I wasn't sure DS will be interested. We did few of the Future World rides including Living with the Land tour where Disney made demo how their scientist work with nature to help living in harmony - as designing tomatoes that grow on trees. Uncool. We also watched circle of life. Needless to say we didn't enjoy the food in their sunshine seasons, all Disney produce marketed as healthy! I suppose genetic modification is more acceptable in the states. We didn't wait for anything over 5 minutes. Second day we focused on Future world. We did soarin - my favourite ride, twice and test track twice before 10. No waiting. We then did Nemo, turtle talk, Spaship Earth, had the free coke drinks from around the world in club cool. We spend day and half in the park and we were left wanting more. Our limit for the waiting time for this holiday was 20 minutes, we didn't wait for anything over this time

The best tips for this park is if going late go directly for World Showcase at 11 and hit the two rides - Mexico and Norway first
Soarin and Test Track create huge waiting times so these are best done first thing in the morning, go to one of them, ride, collect fast pass, go to the second, ride and collect a fast pass for later if you love it. We did love both. Bare in mind that if you use fast pass you will be very quick so you may not get chance to upload the cars you design on Test Track. Norway ride is cool too, the rest aren't really anything that is a must do. It's more see and look around park. Few drinks can be fun too!

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon - The theming of Disney parks including the two waterparks is lovely. We went once to each, on Mondays and spend few hours only in the morning. Parking is free but you have to pay for locker, I think it was about 13 usd and you can get 5 back or coffee mug on return of key. We hired towels first day, 2 usd each but to be honest we brought our own next time as we only used them on park exit. Blizzard beach have nicer rides, we did the Teamboat Springs first as we were told it gets really busy, we did it few times using the chair lifts few times, then we did the lazy river, run off rapids and few others I can't recall. In Typhoon Lagoon similarly we went for Gangplank falls (not as nice as teamboat) Keelhaul and Mayday Falls (not DS) DH did the shark reef, ds got scared so I had to leave with him, DS spend some time in ketchakidde creek. We got a cabana as soon as we walked in next to bay slides. It was great near the wave pool and DS got lovely photos from the photographers on the slides.

Magic Kingdom - we spend at least 4 days in MK. The first day we did all rides in Fantasyland to introduce DS to rides. We also had pre booked Pirate Makeover. He loved it. My only complaint is that I asked for the Jack Sparrow hat and paid 37 usd for it extra, it kept falling off him so he didn't use it at all. When I went home I noticed that they have given him adult size! It's cool with the hair and all but still, no much use for us unless we want to dress up as pirates. The pictures are lovely and he did Pirate lesson in front and got extra pictures from that - all included in the photopass package. He was great fun to watch, the guy that did the make up was really funny and made allot of fuss around DS. We went to every single ride in Fantasyland before 11 (apart from the carousel due to renovations), and loved Mikeys PhilharMagic, The Barnstormer, Under the sea. Hate the tea cups with passion! Lunch at Be our guest, after short wait and really enjoyed it! After Fantasyland we had the makeover and after we did the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean. People were looking at the pirate DS and he enjoyed the attention! There were girls getting the pirate makeover and looked very cute

My Pirate - he took the hat straight off and stayed with the bandanna part of the makeover package

JS ain't bad either!

Day 2 we did liberty square and the frontierland. DS loved the two mountains. We did Aladin, Enchanted Tiki room (the silliest show ever!) countrybear jumboree. It was way too hot for the walking attractions so we skipped them, but we did everything else. Lunch at pecos - it was ok. We had the Aloha whip dole everybody are talking about - hated it to be honest, soft serve with pineapple juice - so what?

We had the buggy first few days and left frozen bottles of water and fruit in it, handy to have.

Day 3 we had the wishes dessert party, so we did all tomorrowland rides and then the party. We arrived at about 16:00. I did space mountain, but ds wasn't tall enough for it this time. Stich is another lame attraction not worth the time! DS lovedthe tomorroland speedway and buzz. I wasn't mad on either tbh.

Day 4 we did favourite rides - the mountains, buzz, tomorrowland speedway. We did allot of chilling around and people watching, our favourite day there

Wishes dessert party - the desserts were awful. All taste same, you can get better in tesco. The view of the firew The fireworks were lovely to watch, and it was lashing rain with thunderstorm earlier so lucky they didn't cancel. DS attacked the watermelon, much for my surprise even he didn't like the desserts. Picture bellow - how did they manage to make them tasting same and looking so different - It's Magic!

Tips for MK
Go early, plan well, eat at be our Guest, don't pack too much in one day. This park have so much to it, with 4 days, we still wanted to do more and had few things more we couldn't do! The photographers in this park are really good so make use of them if you have the photopass. DS got some lovely magic photos with little tinkerbell! Try to see a parade, the fireworks. We didn't need ponchos - in August heat anything that cools you down as wet ride or short rain is a huge plus. There aren't any really scary rides in the park.

HS and AK part 3.
Food - part 4.
Seaworld 5
IOA - US part 6
Final thoughts - part 7

Edited at 11:02 AM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 03:34 PM  
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floridays looks nice its at end of idrive remembering seeing it as i drove past great report
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Old 26 Aug 13, 05:18 PM  
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Join Date: Oct 12
Location: Ireland
We spend day and half at AK. We loved the park, much more then I was expected.

Day one - straight to Kilimanjaro Safari, Everest, Kali Rapids, Dinosaur, all no wait, no fast passes at all.

We dropped by dinoland and did the tricepa top spin, again no wait. In front of Dinoland we were stopped by CM and asked if we would like to participate in todayís parade and we gladly said yes! We were told where to meet then at 15:00.

Went to meet Mikey and Minney in their headquarters

There were allot of characters with little or no wait!

Then itís tough to be bug (so cool!), the Festival of Lion King which we all loved. We only had time to do the Maharajah Trek and we had to go for our parade meet up.

The Parade was fun, but also hard job. Itís so odd Ė people arue taking pictures of you. Waving was bit of pain too to be honest but in the same time DS was so happy to do it. He didnít fully realise he was chosen, he though anyone can do the ride!

Day 2 we did all treks & exhibits, sow nemo (not as good) and went to conservation station. The star of the day was a gorilla that loved posing more than us! He just loved the attention! We never used fast pass in this park. We also sow Flights of Wonder.

HS - day and half. On both days they let us in the park before 9, may be 8:30 to 8:45.

Day 1 - DS and DH off to sign up for Jedi training. Me to take Fast passes for Toy Story Mania. We did Tower of Terror. DH and me RnR coaster. Star Tours, Toy Story, Beauty and The Beast, The Little Mermaid, Studio Backlot Tour, and it was time for the Jedi training. We did few pictures and that was day 1.

Day 2 we did toy story, few times with the help with fast pass. DS loved it and in fairness much better then buzz in MK. We did Jack Sparrow - I don't understand why it creates such big waiting times it isn't really much! Following this we sow the Indiana Jones stunt show, we really were hoping to see Lights, Motors, Actions but it was so hot and the thought of extra heat... we didn't. It will be next visit, if we visit again with One Man's Dream.

We are getting tired. Very tired! The heat, early wake up and go, the rushing around.. fantastic fun and we did so much! But at the same time it is all go! We had one no park day, forced by DH.

Edited at 10:28 PM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 06:12 PM  
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Comments on Disney parks

We did have buggy most days and had frozen water bottles and fruit but to be honest by the end of the week 2 we went without backpack with bottle each in our hands and bought bottles after. The black cross body bag I bought from Kipling sale in Dublin was great, somewhat waterproof. I did have documents and money in ziplock bag for extra security, and it was good size if DS is in the middle of snack and is asked to put it away, or if I need to put the bottle of waters in.

The parks are great fun, they really are! I don't know how will new fast past system change things, but planning really helped us allot.

One thing, we went in MK on busy day (last Disney Saturday) and there were more people then the previous days but the waiting times were less. May be the locals don't do as much rides, not sure why to be honest but they were noticeably less.

The staff in Disney are always friendly. Way friendlier and nicer to be around then the rest of the parks we did in week 3.

The rides are not scary and DS went on all he could. He didn't do Everest (moody day!), Space Mountain, RnR coaster and the Mission Space (nobody of us did) and sum of all trills. He was happy on all others.

My disney experience app is great for ride times, download it!

Easywdw have the best plans. Better then touring plans and for free.

Edited at 08:54 PM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 06:34 PM  
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We eat at the following

Outback - ok meal, won't return.

Longhorns - lovely meal, we went twice and were very happy both times. I had the fillet stake with lobster and it was so nice, way nicer then same meal in Outback

Texas de Brazil - I wouldn't return. We had the sign up voucher, and it was very handy but it was busy. We waited forever to get meat. The food wasn't as good as Fogo de Chao at all. We won't be going back

Fogo de Chao - lovely meal. We went twice. The prices for lunch are cheaper and we went about 2 for main meal of the day. Way superior food then TdB, the waiter comes very often to ask if we would like any specific meat send - but we didn't need to as they were very regular. I had a mango casis dessert that was gorgeous too

Sweet tomatoes. I liked it. Then I sow the toilet. Won't be returning

Cheesecake facory - ok meal. Large portions, forgettable okish food

Carrabas - very nice meal. We didn't return but we would

Olive Garden - the salad is to die for. The food I had there was always lovely. We went twice

Giordanos - loved the pizza

Flippers - we got take away twice.

5 guys. Love it, went twice. And I don't like burgers usually

T-Rex. Kind of horrible. The only good thing were the ribs.

House of Blues - lovely but it would have been way too overpriced without the certificate.

The Kitchen at HRH - food ok and very reasonable. Staff went out of their way to serve well, and did leave 25% tip for first and last time during this holiday

burgers are bit big!

Be our guest was really nice for lunch - my favourite salad for this holiday

Millers Ale - ok food. Not sure if I would return.

Maggianos - the worse meal of the holiday, got sick after. Very disappointing won't return

Bahama Breeze - didn't like it much to be honest.

Tony Romas - hated the ribs. Horrible sticky sweet sauce poured over them and the steak. Won't return. A really nice man gave DS 2 usd banknote, so kind. He said he is very good boy (I was trying to convince DS to eat, may be he felt sorry for him!). the cocktail I had was yum and the starter too

Over all the food was disappointing. Not one meal is worth travelling for, it's just ok. Nothing compared to what we had in LA! Next time, if any we will look for more none chain restaurants. In fact for similar money, you can get much nicer meal in Europe - Dublin or London for sure.

On the plus side, it was way too hot to eat allot so we only had one meal a day. We had some fruit or ice cream in the park, then the main meal, then some fruit again if hungry later. I couldn't manage 3 meals in that heat with their portion sizes.

Favourites are Fogo, Five Guys, Longhorns, Olive Garden

Edited at 11:58 AM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 07:14 PM  
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This is great - thanks for sharing. We loved Tony Romas albeit none of us had ribs! Will you send me a pm on MM with details of the condo. We made a mistake with ours and Mikes isn't available any more for our dates!
Regal Palms 2007
Floridays 2010
Floridays 2012
Floridays 2014
Better the devil you know Floridays 2016
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Old 26 Aug 13, 07:19 PM  
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Seaworld Aquatica - we had 2 weeks ticket. We only went to Seaworld once. We kind of had enough parks, and also ... there were some debates if we should go at all. We had the tickets so we went. We had Express passes so we did (me and DH) Manta and Kraken. Lovely, so smooth rides! It spoiled the rest of the rides in IOA and US bit as they didn't really feel that impressive. I though Kraken is scarier, DH Manta. In this park as no other people were trying to sale stuff. Example staff asking kids on the street to go play paid games. We purchased all day food pass, and we made our money worth but the food was way worse then Disney to be honest.

The third impressive attraction is Journey to Atlantis. DS did it and loved it. You pay to lock your belongings, dollar and if you need to unlock it you will need another dollar. Parking is 15 normal, 20 preferred.

We did Antarctica, it's ok but not great. We did Turtle Treck, Sky Tower, Wild Arctic (DH wasn't happy with the little space the polar bear is in) Shamu Express. We watched two shows but I felt terrible and didn't enjoy it.

The staff was rude or grumpy, or both. I wonder if they are way worse paid then Disney or are their condition good or is the company not bother trying to enforce good service. If you ask for direction at Disney anyone would help you, here they look shocked and just... not cool.

The 2 rides with wait were Antarctica and Atlantis. Pitty as they do have 3 of the most awesome rides, but either way we don't plan to visit this park again in the near future

Edited at 01:12 PM.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 07:51 PM  
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Really enjoying reading this and looking forward to the rest.
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Old 26 Aug 13, 07:52 PM  
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Universal Studios and Island of Adventure

For sure DH and DS favourite parks! We checked in HRH at apr 7:40, got the express passes and off we go with the boat ride to US. It's awesome! The unlimited express passes are super cool. We were in the park by 8:20 and we did Despicable me and Transformers twice each before 9. DH loved transformers, DS Despicable me. We sow Shreck 4 D, RRR (me and DH only).

It wasn't as smooth as Kraken or the newer rides so in a way it's kind of scarier. Twister, The Mummy (me and dh only) awesome ride

Disaster, Men in Black 2 or 3 times! I loved it.

The Simpsons, quick walk by curious George, E.T, Woody Woodpecker Coaster, Terminator 2. Transformers again!

We had duff beer, and also lunch at fast food boulevard. Food was just about eatable.

Universal for sure have bigger, better and newer rides then Disney. Scarier too -so it ws really handy that DS had Disney to build up his confidence.

We went back to HRH. Few hours around the pool, coktail or two (the first one is 20 usd! bit on the high end but you get to keep a plastic glass. As you know, I need plastic glasses!

Good for one night but not 3 weeks holiday. Next cocktail is 5 usd cheaper as you keep the glass. The hotel is awesome but ds wasn't impressed that he can't go to the slide in the pool, he was under the minimum hight. I would consider staying more nights next time. The beds were not as good as Floridays. The room much smaller, but still ok - you can't compare one is condo, the other hotel room. We had dinner at the kitchen. Went for walk around City Walk and had few drinks & cinnabun. The boats operate to late but it's only 5 minutes walk so we walked back

We checked out at 7:30 and left the car for the day. The fee for parking was 20 usd, for overnight stay. It covered us up to midnight on check out day.

We were in the park before 8, they let onsite guest earlier then 8 even. We walked to Harry Potter ride as soon as we walked in. We did Harry Potter - the forbidden journey (child swap). I did dragon challenge and me and DS Flights of Hippogriff. We had the butter beer and it's delicious! Forbidden Journey was up to hour wait even before the park opens to none staying guests, and stayed at this level for the day. It's not covered by express pass. It's awesome attraction. It took us half an hour to experience with the child swap and wait

Then we did all in Seuss Landing - the high in the Sky, Caro-Seuss-el, One Fish, Two fish (like Dumbo but wet!) The Cat in the Hat. All of them had no waiting at all, without the express passes.

Lockers at universal are free if they are mandatory, with a small fee if the ride is optional. They are easy enough to figure out.

We went to do the Hulk (me and DH) and while DH was doing hulk I made the mistake to take DS to Storm Force Accelatron. It's like the tea cups in Disney on steroids. It's bad, my tummy was sore for hours after. Yuks.

We did Spiderman. We went to meet Spiderman and DS got himself the photo cover shoot. One himself only and one with DH.

We went on and me and DS went to do Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barger. How bad can it be - it will be something like Kali Rapids. So wrong! We were so wet, there wasn't any dry part of us at all. We went on to do Jurasic Park River Adventure. It really scared DS allot, he was so upset. The only scary to him ride for the holiday (and the haunted mansion bit I think!

The thing with Express pass is you don't wait out in the sun, you are straight away in air-conditioned space. Not great when you are soaking wet!

We had lunch at the place in Harry Potter - lovely meal. We had the family feast coming with huge salad, veggies with the main course and chicken, ribs, corn and potatoes. Butter beer off course! I was frozen by the time we finished the meal. We walked back to do Spiderman again and this was the end of our day at IOA.

The only downer was the photoconnect. We bought it on location and paid 59. We got some good ride photos, and a awesome Spiderman one. The rest was rubbish. I mean, how can anyone with good camera do such poor job I don't know! There weren't many of them, and they didn't tell us we have to go somewhere to add the magic so we have photo of me and DS looking at lamp and behind is dirty wall. Or we pointed at something looking all surprised - and we got picture of someones connect card (the dude with the camera trying to figure out how to add photos I guess!) and some other family! Even with the poor photographers photos, the spider man and the rides are worth it. Tip - check your photos in the park and add the magic as it's not done as in Disney.

US and IOA are DH and DS favourite parks.

I really like Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. All Parks but as I love the shows, I would go for them.

Edited at 03:54 PM.
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