That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

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momeja
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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Sun 16, 2011 7:52 pm

Amy wrote:
Mousekedude wrote:Oh, this report so totally rocks so far! I can tell by your narration style that I'm going to love this!!
By the way, did you realize that you captured DiVine in this shot?
momeja wrote: Image
That's probably why her dear H is looking so happy ~ he is thinking, forget bringing a princess home, I'd like to take home Devine :D ;)
LOL, he was so happy to see her. We'd seen her on the previous trip but he'd missed out.

Thanks for the complement, Mousekedude. I'm glad you like it. And as for the future Mayhem Maurader, I'd say it's a toss-up between Adi and Judah. Judah wants to be, but Adi is, iykwim. :wink:

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by mindflipper » Oct Sun 16, 2011 11:26 pm

For us who have less embraced the modern texting abbreviation craze: what's "iykwim"?

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by Amy » Oct Mon 17, 2011 6:45 am

mindflipper wrote:For us who have less embraced the modern texting abbreviation craze: what's "iykwim"?
I had to look it up myself :roll: iykwim = if you know what I mean...

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Mon 17, 2011 7:09 am

mindflipper wrote:For us who have less embraced the modern texting abbreviation craze: what's "iykwim"?
And I always thought I was behind the technology curve... Must be having a teenager in the house. :lol: :wink:

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Mon 17, 2011 7:11 am

So, to start, here was the final schedule:

5/15 – travel & arrival, Priceline hotel
5/16 – check into Portofino Bay Hotel, tour US
5/17 – tour IOA, check into AKV
5/18 – rest day, Blizzard Beach, Hoop at night
5/19 – Animal Kingdom, Yak & Yeti lunch, Sanaa dinner
5/20 – SWW opening morning (Judah and me), MK everyone else, meet for lunch at Tom Sawyer Island, Victoria & Albert’s dinner, late emh at Epcot for H. and me
5/21 – rest day, breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, check out of AKV, check into BCV, H. leaves for Calgary, dinner at Beaches & Cream
5/22 – SWW day 1, lunch at Starring Rolls, dinner at Mama Melrose, late night at DHS
5/23 – late morning Epcot, H. returns, rest & swim, dinner at Cal Grill
5/24 – Typhoon Lagoon, dinner at Via Napoli, Illuminations
5/25 – MK day 2, lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, rest & swim, dinner at Beaches & Cream, return to MK
5/26 – Epcot RD, lunch at Sunshine Seasons, Member Celebration @ BLT, rest & swim, dinner at Coral Reef
5/27 – SWW day 2, lunch at 50s Primetime Café, rest & swim, return to DHS for Hoopla and rides
5/28 – breakfast at Cape May Café, ME to airport

5/15 – A Bumpy Arrival

Our flights always leave 8 am ish and always arrive 6 pm ish, Disneytime. That’s Disney life when you live out in the west. We had a stopover in Chicago and discovered that Frontera Grill now has an outlet in the airport. HURRAY! Although we never went to Frontera Grill when we lived in Chicago, I loved all the good Mexican food in Chicago and have one of Rick Bayless’s cookbooks. Move over, Wolfgang Puck Express. There’s a new kid in town.

We arrived and got the rental car from Dollar. I love how easy picking up a rental car is from Dollar with Dollar Express. Two minutes start to finish. Of course, then we discovered upon exiting that H. wasn’t on the rental car agreement, so we had to turn around and make the change. This took longer… [:@]

I don’t know why, but Dollar didn’t have any maps. Is this because everyone now uses google maps? Anyway, since we didn't have a map we got off a few exits too early and ended up in a long line of traffic around the Orlando Convention Center. Finally made it to the hotel around 7:45. Our hotel – the International Palms Resort, which we’d Pricelined – was fine, although not great, although at 60% off rack, you can't complain too much, right? [;)] Btw, does anyone know whether you can make requests on check in if you Priceline your room? I wanted two connecting rooms but I didn't know if I could make that request or not since it was a Priceline stay. The kids were next door, and it was okay, but I would have felt better if the rooms had connected.

We then headed out to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. I love Sweet Tomatoes! We missed the exit and had to come around again – love that Orlando traffic! – and arrived just before they closed at 8:30. Great food and so easy. But with all the kerfuffle and time wasted, there was no swimming for us tonight. The pool looked nice, but we had better/bigger stuff ahead of us tomorrow – Universal Studios! So, to bed, to bed.

p.s. Emilie wanted me to add that although the 5 block trip to Sweet Tomatoes took us a half hour, as a result of our wanderings, we got a first glimpse of the Hogwarts Castle. Too cool!

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by Amy » Oct Mon 17, 2011 7:25 am

Looks like you had a nice balance of parks ~ fun things ~ relaxation planned. It will be interesting to see if it all worked out as planned :D
10 hours of travel time ~ oh my :(

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by cy1229 » Oct Mon 17, 2011 1:38 pm

I'm really enjoying this post! Congratulations on finishing law school - what an accomplishment! I bet your kids are really proud of you. When you checked out of AKV and into BCV, did Disney move your bags for you, or did you have to move them yourselves? Just curious how that worked.
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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Mon 17, 2011 4:52 pm

cy1229 wrote:I'm really enjoying this post! Congratulations on finishing law school - what an accomplishment! I bet your kids are really proud of you. When you checked out of AKV and into BCV, did Disney move your bags for you, or did you have to move them yourselves? Just curious how that worked.
They move your bags for you, which is great. The only issue is that they may not move them according to your timing, so if you want to go swimming, keep your swimsuits out. :wink:

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Sat 22, 2011 8:59 am

5/16 – Universal Studios

We slept in a bit because we were still on Mountain time, but because we were staying onsite at Universal Studios at the Portofino Bay Hotel, I wasn’t worried about it since we would have Front of the Line (FOTL) for almost all attractions. We arrived at PBH at 8:45 am, just in time for a quick breakfast in the Club Room. We'd only stayed Club (concierge) level once before, at AKL years ago, but I discovered that at Universal with a family of 5 we would save money staying at Club level from the 2 days worth of breakfasts that would be included for our one night (one breakfast on arrival and one the next day). Plus, there was no extra charge for a rollaway in the room since all the Club Level rooms have a sleeper sofa, so they sleep 5. Breakfast was good, and the chocolate croissants were amazing. It was a great way to start the day.

After breakfast, we hustled down to the dock and just made the boat to US. One note about PBH as opposed to the Royal Pacific or the Hard Rock Hotel, it’s the farthest hotel away from the parks, so walking is not a great option. The walk is about the same as the walk from Epcot to DHS – doable but not short – so if a boat is available, take it.

We arrived at Universal just before 10 am. It looked pretty quiet. We had a couple of goals today but the main one was to get H. on the Simpsons and Jaws. He loves the Simpsons, and the Simpsons is frankly one of the best rides in all Orlando (perhaps the best). As for Jaws, well, he was just the right age when Jaws came out, and he does bear a passing resemblance to Steven Spielberg and all (in fact, there’s even a note saying that in the computer at our local video store). Knowing that The Simpsons can be rough on your stomach, we bought H. some Bonine at the store the night before. We were ready for our day.

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What I love about Universal Studios is the detail of the park decorations. They really did a great job with the park (are you listening, DHS?)

Right after the turnstiles, Adi saw Dora the Explorer, so we had to take a picture of them together, since Dora is her middle name:
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The initial plan was that Judah, Emilie and I would ride Rip Ride Rockit (which doesn’t honour FOTL) while H. and Adi saw Shrek 4 (a f**t joke every minute is how I like to describe it :roll: . We got through the RRR line fast, rode it once, then decided to line up to ride it again, figuring we had enough time, but the ride broke down while we were on line, so we jumped out and went to our meeting spot – the big square next to The Mummy. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to explain to H. that there was a separate line for FOTL, so we waited a while for them to come out. Oops!

Once they were out, we rode the Mummy twice, even H. I love the Mummy, more so every time I ride it. It’s a great coaster with very fun effects. Be sure to check out the lost and found board when you’re there, too. Then we went to Jaws. Now, Jaws is one of H.’s favourite movies from when he was growing up, so the kids and I couldn’t wait for him to ride it. For those of you who haven’t visited Universal yet, we call it “The Jungle Cruise… with Teeth.” Our captain was fine, not great but fun. We played around with Bruce afterward and then continued around the circle to Men in Black.
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Help!

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Argh!

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Yeah, I caught Bruce.

I warned H. that MIB was a bit spinny and that he should ride the Simpsons first. However, he wanted to ride MIB first and he’d taken the Bonine we’d bought for him, so I figured he’d be okay. Emilie and I forgot about how spinny it was, with several sudden Teacup like turns. Well, after the first one, I was nervous, and after the second one, I knew we were in trouble. H. came out looking very, very green. And we hadn’t even gotten to the Simpsons yet! He sat down and we brought drinks for him. Then the kids and I went back to MIB and rode it another 3 times, each time checking with him when we came out to see what he wanted to do. Each time he said, ride it again and hopefully I’ll feel better. After the fourth time, he said he wanted to walk around, so we went over to the Simpsons. Kids and I rode it. (First great Simpsons line is from Kang: “Foolish mortals, don’t you know that all rides must end in a gift shop?”) H. just sat again. When we came out, he said he thought lunch would be a good idea because it might settle his stomach (yeah, either that or....)

We walked back across the little lagoons that divide the park and over to Finnegan’s, which is on the Amityville wharf. It’s a lovely little restaurant, good place to sit. I had the fish basket. Emilie had the chowder. H. and Judah had the fish & chips and Adi had the grilled cheese. Service was good. Food was good. And, most importantly, H. felt better after the meal.

Still going for quiet, we walked over to E.T. Everyone heard ET say their name but me. Then back to the Simpsons, and H. said he was ready to try it. He survived and loved it, just like we knew he would (Next great Simpsons line is from Homer. Marg: “Homer, Sideshow Bob is trying to kill the kids.” Homer: “It just keeps getting better and better.”).

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He wanted a little recovery time after he rode it, though, so the kids and I rode MIB another couple of times (my son kept thinking that he would beat my score. Ha!).

We returned to the Jaws and got a really funny captain this time. We crossed back over to ET. This time, I heard ET say my name, but because we were discussing the ride when we got out, H. forgot his bag. He remembered it within 20 sec. but they’d already sent the ride vehicle forward. Then the ride broke down, so he couldn’t get it. They told him to return in half an hour. The animal show was just starting, so H. took Adi and Judah to see it. I’m not a fan of animal shows (you’ve seen one animal show, and you’ve seen them all, I say.), and Emilie and I wanted to see the Terminator 3D, which we’d missed last trip, so we went to find that show instead. Unfortunately, we missed it, so we rode the Simpsons again (fourth great Simpsons quote is from Marg: “Maggie, take those tourists out of your mouth now! You don’t know where they’ve been.”) and then met up with H., Judah and Adi at the Lucy: a Tribute exhibit. After that, H. tried to get the bag, but they hadn’t found it yet. I was a little worried – dark bag, dark ride, not a good combination. It was at this point, that H. told me he’d put the rental car keys in the bag… Bad news, and this story is to be continued.

We went back to the Simpsons for one more ride (Third great Simpsons line is from Krusty: “And now, we’ll go on a magical journey… through my mouth.”), then back to the Mummy. H. was over his nausea, so he rode both again. Then Judah and Emilie wanted to ride RRR again, so H and Adi and I went back to Lucy: a Tribute. Here’s the thing about Lucy: a Tribute. H. was also a huge Lucy fan growing up, so he had a wonderful time at the exhibit.

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Then we regathered and headed to the exit. Back at the hotel, the kids swam while H. and I got pizza at Sal’s Market and drinks at the Thirsty Fish. Unlike the Royal Pacific Hotel, there aren’t nightly pool movies, but the resort is so beautiful, we didn’t mind.

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Portofino Bay Hotel is also a great hotel if you like hotels that aren’t square boxes but have lots of nooks and crannies and strange little alleyways. Adi tumbled across the lawn and we all admired the full moon. It was a great start to the trip.

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Afterwards, we went back to the lounge for cookies and cannoli before bed. We had a lovely day, but we had to get to bed early because the next morning was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! :ccat: RD at 8 am.

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by Amy » Oct Sat 22, 2011 10:52 am

Great next day report so far!
I have to ask, when you say RRR doesn't honor FOTL? What does that mean? Only thing I can think of is fruit of the loom :shock:
Loving all the photos too - I'll have to look at them again on my computer when I get home (I'm helping F1gment shoe shopping and am passing time looking at the forum while she is taking laps in various tennies :lol: )
Sounds like you guys rode just a few select rides. I haven't been to Universal in a long time. Are those the only attractive that are there, or do you just like those few? Sorry H didn't feel well after MiB. You did try to warn him though and ou had pre-medicated him so at least you covered your bases!
I do remember ET fondly. Mostly the lovely smell in the forest. Is that still there?!

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by boilerbabe » Oct Sun 23, 2011 12:07 am

Congrats on law school!!! You have a lovely family and I'm really enjoying your report and all the pictures!!! I stayed at the Pacific Resort (I think that was the name) but that was when it first opened in 2000 I believe?! It's been a while since I've been back to US. It's fun, but we never leave Disney property!

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by mindflipper » Oct Sun 23, 2011 12:20 am

I've stayed at the Portofino and I was amazed at how great a resort the place was. Like the EPCOT resorts, you can take the boats to either USO parks.

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by momeja » Oct Sat 29, 2011 12:02 am

I'm finally back. Busy week!
Amy wrote:Great next day report so far!
I have to ask, when you say RRR doesn't honor FOTL? What does that mean? Only thing I can think of is fruit of the loom :shock:
FOTL is front of the line. You get it for free at Universal if you stay in one of their hotels, and it's amazing. It's like a fastpass to almost every ride in the park. RRR is Rip Ride & Rockit, their new rollercoaster. I didn't like it much....
Sounds like you guys rode just a few select rides. I haven't been to Universal in a long time. Are those the only attractive that are there, or do you just like those few? Sorry H didn't feel well after MiB. You did try to warn him though and ou had pre-medicated him so at least you covered your bases!
I do remember ET fondly. Mostly the lovely smell in the forest. Is that still there?!
You know, there isn't all that much there at Universal. More at Islands of Adventure. However, the stuff they have is pretty good. Love the Mummy. Love Jaws. Love Men in Black. Really love the Simpsons. Unfortunately, ET may have a permanent stain because of losing the backpack/keys. Not that it was ET's fault or anything but, come on, ET, all we wanted was for that backpack to "go home!"
boilerbabe wrote:Congrats on law school!!! You have a lovely family and I'm really enjoying your report and all the pictures!!! I stayed at the Pacific Resort (I think that was the name) but that was when it first opened in 2000 I believe?! It's been a while since I've been back to US. It's fun, but we never leave Disney property!

Looking forward to the rest of your report!
Thanks, BB. I've loved reading your trip reports and wanted to add one to the subsonic collection. Btw, I agree with you about not wanting to leave Disney property. Darn that Harry Potter. It was so much easier to be Disney only before he came along! :evil: :lol: :twisted:
mindflipper wrote:I've stayed at the Portofino and I was amazed at how great a resort the place was.
Me too, MF, me too. So expensive, though! It was worth it for FOTL, but it's not something we could do every trip, only a trip like this.

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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by Len90 » Oct Mon 31, 2011 12:14 am

First off congrats on the law school degree!

Seems like a very rigid schedule you had and you really were able to accomplish a lot in one day. I guess that FOTL thing really does work out well for the Universal Studios hotel guests as you get to accomplish so much. Can't wait to keep reading more!
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Re: That Really Big Graduation Trip: May 2011

Post by NaCler » Oct Mon 31, 2011 10:18 pm

Awesome report so far momeja! I love reading about different places even if they aren't Disney. Please keep it coming!

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