An EPIC Adventure - A Live & Interactive trip report

SkiBum

Veteran Member
Dec 14, 2012
1,210
Cincinnati, OH
We woke feeling better than yesterday and after a simple breakfast of blueberry pancakes and hot tea we headed out to Parrot Mountain, so called as it’s at the top of a mountain and had parrots, who’d a thought. It was only a short 20 minute drive and we were soon heading up the steep slope to the summit, not as high as the peak we saw earlier in the week but an impressive part of the range none the less.

But it wasn’t the mountains or the views we had come to see this time though it was the birds, and wow did they have a lot. The entrance fee was $20 but coupons are readily available for 1 or 2 dollars off, you can also pay an extra $2 to feed nectar to the Lowery's. Now on paper this doesn’t sound the best of trips out but honestly I had a blast here, the assortment of birds on show here is staggering and not just in cages you can interact with a lot of them too.
If you had the chance, I would recommend going to see the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Mind you, you have actual castles back home (ex. Muckingham or Stuckingham, something like that) but it is still a pretty place to visit.

Just kidding on the the castle name. Although, when I was younger, I always got confused between Windsor and Buckingham.
 

UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Day 19 – Tennessee to Port Canaveral

Today was a travel day as the 4th leg of this EPIC adventure Disney Cruise around the Western Caribbean, we will aboard the Disney Fantasy but more on that in my future reports.

We were up at 5 am to do any last minute packing, load the car and get on the road for 6 am. With 4 of us with luggage and purchases it was a tight squeeze but we managed it and were on the road by 6 am. We had been following hurricane Florence closely but we didn’t need to worry as we had no impact whatsoever, once again we had dodged the weather.

It was dark when we set off and quite misty too but the mist lifted as the daylight came and we were making good time. I75 all the way down through Atlanta and into Florida, no real traffic issues at all. It was 10+ hour drive but I passed the time by catching up on my trip report. @bobwadd has in car power and Wi-Fi so this was the perfect opportunity to get caught up

The drive went pretty quick, we made 3 or 4 stops en route, but only quick bathroom stops at the rest areas. We had one longer stop at the first Florida rest stop to eat a picnic we had packed. It felt good to be back in my second home. We had a look around the welcome center and had our complimentary cup of OJ but again we were soon back on the road for our final part of the journey. I am now proud to say I have traveled Florida from the border down to the Keys and east to west coasts. We would make one more rest stop at Turkey Lake before arriving in the port area just after 5 PM

We saw dozens of firework and adult stores advertised on the bill boards on the way down, you Americans sure like sex and fireworks, oh and guns too, guess anything that goes with a bang:grin: :rimshot:

We unpacked the car and said our goodbyes to @bobwadd and Dianne, it will only be just over a week before we see them again though as they will be joining us for HHN later in the trip. I will take this opportunity to say that we had a fantastic week with them up in Tennessee. The log cabin was the perfect base and we will remember the mountain, rafting and parrots forever, oh and we mustn’t forget my new found friend EPIC. Also thanks to Bob for driving us around for the week and bringing us back down to Florida for the cruise.

We are staying in a suit at the Radisson Resort. We got nice room and the beds are oh so comfy. After a few drinks and something to eat at the Tiki bar it was time for those comfy beds, it had been a long day and we both fell asleep within minutes.
 

UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Just sat at the cove bar aboard the Disney fantasy. This will be the 4th leg of my trip.

I'll be offline for a week, thank y'all for following along so far. I'll leave the thread in @bobwadd capable hands, he had lots of food porn, park and on ride shots to share.

I'll be back in Week with cruise reports and hoping to catch some of you at HHN. @Scott W. @JoeCamel @Andy @Brian G. @Mad Dog @Hockeyman55 @Felipe @bobwadd looking forward to meeting up with yall and anyone else who's around. I'll be at fins for stay and scream on 22 or just drop a message here.

Again thanks for following along so far and bon voyage.
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,319
Pittsburgh area
Just something I wanted to share with you. Mark called me right before he departed on his Disney Cruise and we had a nice long conversation. His previous 16 trips to USA were primarily Theme Park visits, though he did get to drive through most of Florida, and do a Disney Cruise or two. This was his first see America trip. He's just gushing with how much he has enjoyed the trip, thus far, NYC, Pgh. area and Tennessee. He said he has enjoyed this more than visiting the theme parks even, and he really loves the theme parks, so that really says something. As an example, I asked him what was the highlight of the week here. He liked the Kennywood amusement park a lot and also visited the Cedar Point coaster park. But the highlight of the his trip, he said, was visiting Ohiopyle State Park and swimming in the Youghiogheny river, right before the rapids and waterfall. Sometimes we forget that the most important and fulfilling things in life are the most simple things. :)
 

bobwadd

Premium Member
Feb 20, 2010
3,160
You never know
Hey everyone following along. Unfortunately I have not had time to update this thread. My first day back to work we had a major water line failure and I am currently in the middle of a $27,000+ infrastructure repair project. This is making for long hours working with not much time for anything else.

Hope you all understand and a big thank you to @Mad Dog for keeping things going.
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,319
Pittsburgh area
Mark & Sam should be returning from their cruise within the next 24 hours. Excited to hear the stories they tell (Sounds like Dr. Seuss :lol:).
 
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UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Hey everyone reading along :sadwave:

Now back on dry land after an awesome cruise around the Caribbean, visited some great places and met some really cool people.

Phone got wet and would not charge, had it in rice, blow dried out and left it out in the sun. Finally managed to get it dried out yesterday. Still got photos with Samantha phone though.

Cruise was so busy I didn't get any reports written up, this last week is Pretty full on too.

I really wanted to keep this thread up to date but with so much on I will have to put on hold till I'm back in the UK. I apologize but promise y'all I will complete it.

Still to come.

Cruise highlights, HHN :ghost:, volcano bay and the parks, Disney and more.
 
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bobwadd

Premium Member
Feb 20, 2010
3,160
You never know
Day 13 – Mountains and Moonshine

We eventually made it to the car park of the Clingmans Dome Viewing Tower. It’s only a short half mile trek up to the peak but with the altitude and steepness of the walk it felt much longer. We were right up in the clouds at this point which impacted the views from the peak but this didn’t detract from being up there, was kinda neat being in the clouds and we still managed to get some good shots . We were also right on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Sorry everyone but I've had a stupid busy week at work and looks like I'll have at least another few days like that. Anyway, as time permits I'll get a few photos up.

It was great spending the week at the base of the Smoky Mountains with @UK-Trigg, Samantha and Dianne. Would love to do it again someday.

Here is a pano shot from the Clingmans Dome Viewing Tower.

Smoky Mountains - 001.jpg

Bob Waddington has shared 1 photo with you! | Flickr
 

Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,319
Pittsburgh area
Just a bit of an update. Mark @UK-Trigg is home after his EPIC 5 week Trip. Due to a wifi blackout on the Disney Cruise and a nearly 24/7 , with very little sleep, final week at Universal, he really hasn't had time to post. I was with him & Samantha a few days last week and they ran, and drank, me into the ground :faint:. I'm still trying to recuperate. Mark goes back to work in a few hours, so that's gotta be a tough one for him. Sooo, I'm just going to share one day, last Weds. with the forum. Just a brief description, I'll let Mark go into more detail when he gets a chance....My credo has always been, take vacation slow and savor it for it's leisure and relaxation aspects....BUT that doesn't work with Mark in Orlando. Bucket list item for Mark; Do all four Disney parks and a couple of hotel resorts in one day...Weds. morning, last week, the Epic Trip started on doing the four WDW parks. My brother dropped me off at Adventura at 9:00 AM, met Mark & Samantha and Ubered to Epcot. Mark wanted to hit all the new Disney rides he had missed. After Epcot we took the long long long boat ride to DHS. That was the second time I did that over the years and both trips took forever with all those stops. After DHS we bused to AK . Dinner and a few drinks at Nomad. Then another bus to AK Lodge where we finished a bottle of Jim Beam Black at the bar (The empty bottle is now hanging from the tree in my yard). Next onto MK. It was a bit of a struggle to get our empty Jim Beam bottle through Security, but after discussions with a few supervisors, and a telling of the Jim Beam Tradition story, they escorted us to Guest Services where we were able to store the bottle until we left. After MK we walked over to Bay Lake Tower where Mark used his DVC membership to get us to the rooftop bar/restaurant. After a few drinks Mark called an Uber and we went back to Universal. It was around midnight when we arrived. I wanted to go to Strongwater Tavern to finish the night, but the crowd of suits was so large that they were overflowing into the TV lounge area. So we went back to the Bistro to finish the evening(morning) with a few more drinks. Bottom line; That was a hellava day. :party:
 
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TJwny

Rookie
Feb 22, 2013
133
Western New York
Just a bit of an update. Mark @UK-Trigg is home after his EPIC 5 week Trip. Due to a wifi blackout on the Disney Cruise and a nearly 24/7 , with very little sleep, final week at Universal, he really hasn't had time to post. I was with him & Samantha a few days last week and they ran, and drank, me into the ground Bottom line; That was a hellava day. :party:
You would have been calling me a stretcher about 1/3 of the way thru your adventure!
 
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UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Ok, first off apologies I never managed to keep up the thread, I tried to be live and interactive and I did manage 3 weeks or thereabouts. The cruise was difficult with lack of wifi, and like I mentioned before I was without cell for 4 days, which was a shame as missing some footage, but I will cross that bridge once we come to it.

Real world has hit home with a bang too, I can relate to @Scott W. feeling the cold, I feel your pain buddy and would trade place with those missing the cold in a heart beat, Im one of those crazies that loves the 90+ temps.

But having said all that I want to get this EPIC report back on the road. which seems fitting as I left off having written my last reports on the road trip back down south to Port Canaveral.

We were heading out of the log cabin, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee just before The Hurricane was due to roll in. So I will leave you with some photos of that road trip (Day 19)whilst I get to work on a post for day 20 and day 1 aboard the Disney Fantasy.

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UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Day 20 - Disney Fantasy Day 1 - All Aboard

We were feeling refreshed after our long drive the day before. We had checked into the Raddison at the port, had a few drinks and a bite at the pool bar before retiring for a well earned sleep.

Huge thanks here to @bobwadd, thanks for driving us down to the port buddy , we had a blast with you guys all week at PF too.

We had a suite as it was a reasonable price, it was a comfortable stay and a nice resort, we both agreed we would stay again if cruising out of that port. Those prices may go up though as they are installing a lazy river soon.

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I checked prices on Uber for getting back into Orlando after the cruise, 95 bucks, I searched online and reserved a hire for 39 bucks. So we were all set and as much as we l had enjoyed our short stay at The Radisson it wasn't at all hard to drag ourselves away as our fourth leg of this Epic Adventure was about to begin.

We packed and checked out, we were able to stow some luggage at bell services until our return, we also had our port shuttle through the hotel, quick, easy and fairly priced. We were soon making our way on the short 10 min ride to the port.

The next seven days would be spent aboard the Disney Fantasy and we were sailing the Western Carribean route, visting Cozumel, Falmouth - Jamaica, Cayman Islands and of course Castaway Cay during our voyage. This would be my 4th DCL and complete the grandslam (for now) and Samanthas 2nd. So whilst we hadn't done this particular route we were both really excited to get on board.

to be cont......................................
 
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Mad Dog

Premium Member
Jan 30, 2013
17,319
Pittsburgh area
I'm looking forward to seeing some photos of this cruise

I need to finish my report but I've been going non stop at work since I got home to really put any effort into it, feels like I never left.
I kind of feel the same way. Being in constant private communication with Mark, having them over for a week, and then hooking up with them in Orlando last week for an unscheduled Orlando trip, it's felt like a 5 week trip on my end too. And, I'll be back in Orlando in 8 weeks for a scheduled 10 day vacation. I'm really looking forward to the holiday stuff at Universal and a trip up to MK for Mickey's Xmas Party. Plus I was just in Orlando for 10 days at the end of May. I'm feeling like I never left too.
 

UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Day 20 - Disney Fantasy Day 1 - All Aboard - Part two

So after our short ten minute drive we were soon at Disneys Port arrivals, offloading our luggage and heading through security at the port. The next time you see your luggage will be outside your stateroom a few hours later so it is important to pack a day bag of essentials.


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Once through security you hit check in, a quick and painless experience where you have your security photo taken and your room keys are issued, from here you have a short wait for your boarding time.



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The whole embarkation is smooth and well oiled, we were soon boarding to the usual Disney Cruise Line "welcome Mark and Samantha from the UK" fanfare that whilst can make you feel a little awkward it also has that touch of elegance, you know you are in for something special. and if that doesnt impres the grandeur of the lobby with its stunning chandelier and halloween pumpkink tree surly will.



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Pomp and dignerentries over we were free to explore the ship until they released the cabins later in the afternoon. We headed straight up the stairs to Cabnnas buffet at the top of the ship. We made a pact here that in order to try and keep some of the weight off whilst on the cruise we would only use the stairs, yes elevetors were banned.



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Cabanas is a family buffet restaurant situated at the front of the ship.Here the selection of food on offer is staggering and always plentyful. With a lot of guests filtering staight up to this restaraunt it was crowded though, a better tactic next time would be to head straight to the Adult area and just use the snack food counter options which are also open, and far less crowded. We still had a nice lunch, here a a few photos of a less crowded Cabanas



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It was crowded and we were in for a more chilled out vibe this cruise so we headed to the back of the ship to the Adults only section but not before having a sneaky go on the aquaduck first ......


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The adult area was much less crowded, far more relaxed and above all, no excitable kids, yes you really can get away from it all on a Disney cruise if you want to, and we wanted too. We relaxed in the pool, eassed our aches and pains in the hottub and had drinks at the pool bar whilst I room was being readied.



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UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Day 20 - Disney Fantasy Day 1 - All Aboard - Part Three

Around 2 -2.30 our room was ready so we headed down to deck 10 to find stateroom number 10545, we had an inside cabin midship, it was a good location as was towards the front end of midship which meant our sanctury of the adult area and Spa was within short walk down the corridor and 2 easy floors :)

Our luggage was there waiting for us at the door the rooms are small with limited storage, but easily managable if you only bring on what you need (remember I stowed some luggage at the Raddison :thumbsup:). Whilst the room was more than adequate I do find the bathrooms a little small.

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up


Having unpacked and freshened up we undid a bottle of wine before we had to head out to the Muster drill. The muster drill is mandatory and everyone is checked in upon arrival at their muster point, its a bit chaotic at times (some guests just didnt get it or wouldnt shut up) but they get the safety spiel over message fairly quickly concidering.

Muster Drill over it's sail away time so it was back to the room to check on the beer before headed back to the upper decks. Now you can go full on Disney here and join in with the sail away party which is a lot of fun, but we had both seen it before so gave it a miss and opted to find a more peaceful option.


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A quick note about wine and beer, a lot of people know that each person is allowed to take onboard 6 x 12oz beer or 2 x 75cl wine, but did you know that this counts for each port of call? so each port you can restock and take on that same allowance. We started with 6 Sams 76 and 2 bottles wine :toast::cheers:
Back up on the bow of deck 13 we enjoyed a nice drink and the views as we made our way out into the Atlantic ocean under guidance of the tugs. we were also treated to the most beautiful sunset.


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It was time to get ready for dinner and at this point I must confess to my guilty pleasure, The Rain Forest at Senses Spa & Salon. We got the couples package $198 for the week and for that you get full during your stay to The Rain Foest, a selection of hot, cold and darn right freezing showers, saunas and spas, heated beds and hot tubs looking out over the ocean, this place is bliss. But the real kicker is that after youv'e realaxed in the spa the locker room has everyting you need to get ready for dinner, beats using the showers in those small stateroom bathrooms.


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UK-Trigg

Veteran Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,266
UK
Refreshed, relaxed and ready for dinner we headed down to the Enchanted Garden for the first of three restaurants on our dinner rotation. it would also the first time we would meet our dinner party.

Disney seats in either 6 or 8 to a table so if you are a party of 2 you will be seated with people you dont know, these people will form your dinner party and will dine together throghout the cruise. They do seat with similar people, Disney are really good at this and seat with similar people ie, age, couples, no kids.


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Dinner was really good and our servers, the servers also follow you on your roatation, were lovely and our dinner guests were great too, a couple from Orlando and another from Boston. The food was incredible and the servers really do go all out to make your experience a special one, this is the quality and stadard that used to behold the Delux resorts

After dinner we had drinks in the bar before bidding good night to our new friends and hitting the sack after a wonderful first day aboard the majestic Disney Fantasy.

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