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An EPIC Adventure - A Live & Interactive trip report

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by UK-Trigg, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. hishedale

    hishedale Veteran Member

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    Glad to hear you got to only wait 40 minutes for FoP! The excessive wait times are the only downside to that ride.
     
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  2. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    All 4 WDW parks were super slow that day. We got lucky. Nearly everything, except for Slinky & FOP (and, surprisingly short, that was with Navii shut down at the time), at the 4 parks were walk ons. We didn't even bother with FP except for one ride (Soarin, that showed a short 30 minute wait anyway)....We were next in line with a couple that really loved FOP. They said they have rode it apx. 3 dozen times since it opened.....FOP was very impressive.
     
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  3. hishedale

    hishedale Veteran Member

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    FoP is very enjoyable. I've only done it once, unfortunately (It started raining and the wait got to an 80). I know it gets compared to Soarin as a better version, but I still do like Soarin more.
     
  4. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    I think with a lot of new rides, when you have to wait super long it drags the enjoyment factor down. Example: I recall the early reviews of Gringotts, when it had 3-4 hour long lines, trashing the ride. Now, it's just about always considered top 3,4 or 5 in Universal, since the lines are reasonable. Overly long lines aren't fun, even with great queues. Disney really needs to start improving the capacity on their new attractions. Almost all of their new stuff this decade has really bad capacity (except for Mermaid).
     
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  5. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Maybe a couple of people with fans on poles? Oh, that may be the Nile cruise. Different park.
     
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  6. UK-Trigg

    UK-Trigg Veteran Member

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    Day 30 -Aventura @ Universal Orlando Resort - Four Parks One Day - Part 3

    The bus gods were once again on our side and we were soon making our way to the Magic Kingdom, this would be our fourth and final park of the day. The bus was pretty quick but we did have a problem, there was no way security was going to allow us through with the empty glass Jim Beam bottle from Jambo House. There are lockers in the park but thats after security, we could have left it at bell service at BLT but we were pressed for time so I managed to talk my way through it with security who agreed to escort me to guest services where I could leave it to collect later. Security here were actually really cool and most helpful.


    It was dark when we got to MK and it was nice to see all the Halloween lights on main street, whilst we were on main street we grabbed a photo to mark the 4P1D challenge, we were not quite done yet but we had nearly two hours to do two rides so whilst we werent quite home and dry we were pretty confident. MK hadn't had anything new since my last visit so any two rides would do here and first up was Pirates of The Caribbean with only a 5 minute wait. It was nearly time for fireworks so with everyone staking their claim for a spot on Main Street we found ourselves making the most of the unexpected short lines. We had a good laugh on Pirates, the buzz of Jim Beam was still with us as we resited ""dead men tell no lies" and sang yo, ho, yo, ho all the way round, arghhhhh.


    We checked Splash next, 35 mins, so we tried Big Thunder, 5 mins, that was better. We had a great ride on Thunder, more or less a walk on and we timed it perfect as we had fireworks for our whole ride, this is always a coaster in the dark and even better when you add in the fireworks too . This second ride meant we had completed our four-park challenge with time to spare, the park was still open and the lines still seemed to be short so we decided to see what else we could get on before closing.


    Splash was now down to 10 mins so we hit that, we were on a roll. Splash is another classic and it was nice to see everything working as should. Haunted Mansion was reading 15 mins but the line looked much longer when we got in it, so we skipped it, I guess everyone had filed in after the show had finished so the line had got longer but the wait times hadn't caught up yet. Pan was 45 mins as usual but Little Mermaid was only 5 mins so we made this our next and final ride of the day.


    We hadn't done bad, 4 parks in one day and two rides in each, 4 in the MK, it was time for a well-earned drink. We headed up Main Street and out of the park towards the BLT, I had my DVC card with me so we decided to the top of the world bar to have a drink and enjoy the view. I started with an IPA 4, it seemed fitting, and I also tried the Apple Pie Martini, both were good. The views from BLT are beautiful and if you go out of the back doors behind the bar you can see right over to Unis Property and I Drive.



    [​IMG]20180926_194113 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


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    An Uber was 4 mins away, just enough time to settle the bill and get the elevator back down to ground level, we made it down just as our Uber turned up. The trip back was quick and we entertained the driver with some slightly drunken carpool karaoke. The Uber's are pretty reasonable, this one only cost around $15, I have used Uber a few times now and find it to be a fantastic service for getting around. When you consider you can get to most places for the cost of parking at a resort you have to ask is car hire worth it anymore?


    Back at Aventura and we hadn't quite done yet, we decided on one last drink at Sapphire Falls but the Bat was packed full with Microsoft employees so we ended up Back up the top of Aventura looking back over at the BLT where we had just come from. Sam went to bed whilst @Mad Dog and I had one last drink, it had been a long day and we had earned it.



    [​IMG]20180926_222534 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr

    [​IMG]20180926_215534 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr

    [​IMG]20180927_010707 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    We had an absolute blast doing this challenge, having done the parks many times I enjoyed this different spin on doing Disney. I think I wore both Samantha and @Mad Dog out but I'm pretty sure they both had a day they will never forget, I know I did.
     
  7. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    EPIC!
     
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  8. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    This! :thumbsup:
     
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  9. UK-Trigg

    UK-Trigg Veteran Member

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    Day 30 -Aventura @ Universal Orlando Resort - One Last Buddy


    We had a lazy morning around the pool, granted it isn't the biggest or most awe inspiring of pools but we had the thing and the hot tub to ourselves, the hotel was apparently full yet apart from the odd tour being taken to Volcano Bay there was no one around, it was bliss. We skipped breakfast as today we were doing lunch at the wonderful Chocolate Emporium and seeing as @Mad Dog was still in town we had arranged for him to join us too.


    [​IMG]20180927_101645 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    [​IMG]20180927_110229 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    We once again took the boats and arrived a little early so we looked around inside for a while, where we were greeted by Penelope and her sidekick robot, Jacques, these guys were great fun and really played the part as you can see in the videos below.



    [​IMG]20180927_113656 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


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    VIDEO 1


    [​IMG]20180927_115519 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    VIDEO 2


    [​IMG]20180927_120013 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr




    By now @Mad Dog had arrived and we were seated by the window in the upper level, first time I'd been up here and I liked it, the view was good and they had a fantastic bar and it was also a little less busy up there. We ordered, got our drinks and before you knew Penelope was back, this time chatting away with us at our table, there had been a character change since I saw her downstairs but she played the part just as well and spent a good few minutes chatting with us at the table.


    The food was good, so good we devoured it before we took any photos. We had the chocolate bread to start, warm and delicious as always. I had the Reuben with fries and that was really good too, not Katz's deli good but it hit the spot and I enjoyed it nonetheless. I forget what Sam and @Mad Dog had but I remember they enjoyed it and that we were all far too full to even contemplate dessert, I don't think I have ever eaten dessert in here as have always been to full. This is sacrilege as they all look so good...... note to self- go straight to dessert next time.



    [​IMG]20180927_121119 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    [​IMG]20180927_122245 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    Lunch over and bellies full we said good bye to @Mad Dog one last time, this time we wouldn't be catching up again and whilst we were sad to see our buddy go but we couldn't be sad for too long as we knew we would catch up again in the future and furthermore we still had one last buddy to see.


    @Disneyhead is one of my oldest Florida buddies’, I forget the year we first hung out but we hit it off from the start and we have been sure to catch multiple times each and every trip since, I even had the honour of having lunch with his Mum and Dad and have met his wonderful Daughters several times.


    This time round though @Disneyhead was living outta town, now Dave's a real good friend and he had always shown us such great hospitality when in Orlando, the least we could do was hire a car and make the drive up north to go see him instead, so that's what we did. @bobwadd also lived and worked in that area so we planned for us all to meet for dinner, Bob suggested the Blue Highway Pizza in Mycanopi, right on US Highway 441.


    So, we hired a car for the trip, I usually use USRentacar and never had an issue with them, this time, against my better judgement, and because it was only a day hire, I decided to book at the kiosk in the hotel. I’d already looked online for a price from my usual guys and the guy at kiosk was the same, great, then he added resort fee and some other tax. All in all, it ended up quite a bit more but I learnt my lesson... another note to self - always use USRentacar for your car hire. I got the car and it was 3/8 in the tank so once we hit the road we were looking for gas.


    $20 to fill her up and we were on our way up the Turnpike to Ocala, @bobwadd is site manager at one of the horse farms and seeing as it was more or less on route to where we meeting @Disneyhead he suggested we swing by and have a tour of the farm. We took him up on his offer and had a nice time looking around hanging out with the horses, they were cool but I have not admitted I was a little apprehensive, don't get me wrong, I liked them, just not their massive teeth. We had a really cool time here and got to meet some world class horses again one off those things you won't get in the travel agents and we loved it here, teeth n'all, thanks Bob.


    [​IMG]20180927_173848 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    [​IMG]20180927_181133 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


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    [​IMG]Horse (5) by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


    [​IMG]Horse (1) by UK-Trigg, on Flickr


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    [​IMG]Horse (4) by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    Farm tour over, we all jumped into Bobs SUV and headed out to meet @Disneyhead , he was already waiting when we pulled up at the restaurant in Mycanopi. It had been 18 months since we last caught up so it was really good to see a good friend after so long. Hugs, handshakes and HI’s over we made our way inside and got the only seats available in the place. This was another one of those places that if you didn't know you wouldn't look twice, but Bob swore by it and so did all the locals judging by how full it was near closing on a mid-week night. They weren't wrong, the pizza was amazing, we all chowed down and as good as it was we couldn't finish and there was plenty left for everyone's breakfasts the next day.


    We enjoyed great pizza with great friends and I could have stood outside chatting all night but the mosquitos were having none of it, we bid out farewells and made the journey back to the farm before driving onwards back to Orlando. The route is easy and the drive went quick but we were exhausted so skipped a late-night drink and went straight to bed.
     
  10. UK-Trigg

    UK-Trigg Veteran Member

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    Day 31 -Aventura @ Universal Orlando Resort - The Last Day



    So, this was the day I never wanted to come, our last day in Orlando and the last day of this epic adventure. We were due to fly back to Manchester (UK) from Orlando International at 6.25PM so we were aiming for the airport around 3PM, the last day always feels you are a in limbo, you want to make the most of it but on the same time you are always weary of the clock. But we had the car from yesterday and had hired it so we could drop off at the airport, so at least we had a car for the day and didn't have to worry about an Uber later.



    We had a nice stay at the Aventura, the rooms are basic and I have to agree that having to use the tablet to turn the TV and lights off is rather cumbersome but I also enjoyed the ability to cast my vacation photos to the tv and the messaging to front desk was both efficient and convenient. The feel at this hotel is different to the other resorts and that's the point, Aventura is just that, a hotel, whereas the others are full out resort hotels. But it is a decent hotel and has everything you need for a nice stay on top off that Sapphire Falls right is on the doorstep and the other resorts are in easy reach. Aventura isn't without its own highlights, Bar Bistro 17 being the clear winner, the view was stunning and the food was great too.



    So, all checked out and the car loaded we headed for a fun, filled time at the outlets. I know, I know, not the best way to spend our last day but we both wanted a couple of things and with the flights later it was an easy way to pass some time. On the way though I did detour up Universal Boulevard so I could nosy at all that new land they purchased, we swung a left onto Destination Park Way and picked up the John Young Parkway and finally West Oak Ridge road to bring us into the premium outlets. I see these guys have started charging for parking now, granted there is still some free but I bet you a $ they'll be charging for all spaces by my next trip.



    [​IMG]20180928_112535 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    Shopping didn't take long, we were pretty near the limit luggage wise and the £-$ isn't at its best at the minute so those offers aren't as favourable these days. We didn't want to eat as we were going to have lunch at the airport to pass the time waiting for boarding so we decided to go to the other outlet at the other end of I Drive, I’d seen a shirt I liked in Diesel but they didn't have my size, so we decided to go to the other store to see if they had it. They didn't but I did find something I liked so it wasn't a wasted journey and furthermore it had killed a bit more time. In hind sight we should have gone to the outlets earlier, grabbed what we wanted and then gone and spent the time at Disney Springs, like I said the last day is always a strange one.



    We didn't really have time to do anything else so decided to leave for the airport now, we would be quite early but at least we could get rid of the luggage and the car and I could have a beer. So, it was quick drive up the 528 without any problems, same couldn't be said for dropping the rental off, he hit me with a bill for $128. He was charging me for the car hire, again and a tank of fuel. I told him the guy told me to bring it back at 3/8 full as that’s what was in it when I picked it up, it actually had 4/8 in it when I dropped it off. I was fuming but eventually got the guy to take off the charges. I hate how the car rentals try it on all the time, I remember on my early trips they would try every underhand trick in the book to get you to hand over more cash.



    Check in was much easier, so all we had to do now was eat and get through security. We didn't fancy the fast food options so decided to go through security and eat at Outback once airside. Security took a long time so by the time we got to Outback we were starving, 25-minute wait, we were gutted, but the place was full as was the terminal, with Microsoft employees heading home after the conference. Eventually we did get a table and Lunch was pretty good, I had burger with Stilton and my final Sam’s 76 of the trip.



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    [​IMG]20180928_162317 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    I was sad boarding the plane, Sam was ready to go home but I wasn't and I didn't want to get on the plane. We had had such a blast over the past 4 and half weeks and I really didn't want it to end, but end it must and it was with a heavy heart I boarded the plane for the 7.5-hour journey back to the UK. The flight was pretty uneventful, we got the usual naff food and I struggled to sleep. We eventually landed back home at around 7.30 am GMT and it was freezing cold, I was expecting it to be cold but geez, it was 46f a far cry from the 90s Id become accustomed to. My Daughter picked us up and drove us the hour and a half back to our home towns of Derby where already the joys of this epic adventure seemed a distant memory.



    [​IMG]20180928_180025 by UK-Trigg, on Flickr



    But what amazing memories we have, from the Skyscrapers of NYC to the secluded beaches of Castaway Cay and Top of the Smokies in Tennessee to the foothills and rivers of Pittsburgh. We tried to cram as much as possible into this trip and we had an absolute blast doing it.


    To all of our wonderful friends, old and new. it was a pleasure to hang out with you all and we look forward to seeing you all again in the not too distant future. It is not the parks or the places you go it's the people you meet along the way that make it special.


    So, there you have it, almost 5 weeks, 10 states, 9 parks and 5 countries. It wasn't quite live and interactive as I promised but I'm sure you will agree it was an Epic Adventure and I thank you all for reading along.
     
  11. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    This Epic Trip report finally coming to an end is like reading a really good book and feeling sad when you're done. This has been the BEST of trip reports. A nice combination of interesting story telling, excellent photos, and a look into the real America, it's people, places and feelings coming from a UK perspective. Mark & Samantha are two wonderful people and it was really nice of them to take so much of their vacation time describing, in detail, their Epic Adventure. And I know that Mark was happy to achieve many of his bucket list objectives. Some were greater experiences then he expected, some were lesser experiences than expected, but they were new experiences nonetheless. He's back in the UK now, but like McArthur, he "shall return". Next Fall will be trip #17 to the states. ....For my part, he (and Samantha) now goes back to England uttering some phrases he never, or rarely, used in the past. And he used these phrases tens or hundreds of times while here. * "Yinz"...* Ummmm Ummmm Ummmmm, she don't need no mashed potatoes".....* "Chop Chop"...* "Cats":cheers:...........ADIEU, Good Friends.......:thumbsup: :peace: :rock: :toast:.....................:sadwave:
     
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  12. Ridgepole

    Ridgepole Member

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    Thanks again EPIC travellers!!:exclap:
     
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  13. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Cue the sad music. Was a blast going along for the ride on this one.Have to say it one more time - EPIC!
     
  14. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Encore! Encore!....Curtain call time. :)
     
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