Anniversary trip with no kids! (Not live- and we ended up at Universal!)

First the background…Some of you saw my post back in December when we had been planning a week at WDW to do the Festival of Art with no kids, and then got an amazing offer from my parents to use a companion fare ticket AND their timeshare points for the year, so we were thinking of changing our plans and going to Hawaii.

Then I started to realize I was not recovering from COVID like I had hoped. I tested positive the first week of Dec and had a couple days where I was totally wiped out and stayed in bed, but it was kind of like a very bad influenza. The problem is that I never fully recovered, and struggled with horrible headaches, fatigue and brain fog. Even in January, I could only work an hour or so and then would have to rest for several hours to even try to make supper. The brain fog was crazy - when I would work, I could focus for an hour or so and then it was like my brain would just shut off and I had not problem-solving or logic skills. I would completely forget how to use the spreadsheets I had been using for years. It was like I was recovering from a brain injury. My DS 7 had similar symptoms for a couple of months, and he had had a concussion last spring, and it seemed SO similar!

I am starting to have some improvement, but still cannot multi-task. If I am on a zoom meeting, I can either listen or look at slides. Not both. I can’t take notes, because I forget what was said as I am writing it down. The strangest thing is not being able to sing the words to songs I know. I’ll be singing and the wrong words come out of my mouth. It’s so weird. Thankfully, I can usually figure out my spreadsheets again without too much trouble, but I do have to limit my screen time.

Anyway…we decided this was not the year for Hawaii, and we waited a little longer to see if I would recover more with time. We planned a trip in March to Orlando with super low expectations. We knew we wanted to be where it was warm and we could eat out every meal, so if my DH had to drop me off and pick me up out front of the restaurants we wanted to do, that would be ok.

I knew I would not be able to do a live trip report, so here is my attempt at one after the fact.

We used a certificate from my parent’s timeshare to get a week at a Marriott in Orlando. We spent an extra $50 to get a Mustang for our rental (convertible was an extra $200, so didn’t go for that). I made a few ADR’s: Kona Cafe, Raglan Road brunch, Trattoria bkfst (so we could park at Boardwalk), Sanaa and for our final night, California Grill! Before leaving, we decided to cancel all the dining reservations except Trattoria and California Grill, to give us more flexibility since the rest seemed to all be available anytime.

We arrived at MCO at 10:30pm on Thursday, March 4th (Our Anniversary! - 13 yrs). The express pick up for our car rental was closed, so we waited in a line for an hour to get our car. They were out of Mustang’s, so they upgraded us to a 4-door Jeep Wrangler with t-tops, which turned out to be really fun! Unfortunately, my brain stuff made me not feel comfortable driving in Orlando, so I only drove once, but it was fun anyway! Got to our room late and fell into bed.

The first morning we slept in and settled into our room. We got a late lunch reservation at Kona Cafe. We parked at Poly got right in. We had some great food! After lunch, we took a picture next to the closed 'Ohana :sob: and checked out the construction around Poly. Then we took a boat over to MK gate to see if we could get annual passes. I told them that we are coming back with our kids in November and if they sold us AP’s, we would go in today, but they would not sell them, so we wandered around the monorail resorts for the day.

We walked the new walkway to GF and wandered around until we found the mini chocolate castle. Then we visited the Enchanted Rose right when they opened at 4 (they don’t start food until 5pm, so we were too early for the truffle fries). By the time we got back to Poly, I was pretty worn out, so we headed back to the room for a rest and then found a Cuban restaurant for supper.

Now I will see if I can learn how to upload some pics…seriously, with this brain stuff, I sometimes can’t figure out things that normally would seem like second nature… so we’ll see…

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Supper of a giant pretzel with mustard sauce at MSP and our hotel…Marriott Grande something. Very nice!

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Had to get some bread pudding! It was awesome!

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Tuna Poke bowl at Kona

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I’m so sorry to hear about your rough time with Covid! Glad you were able to get away for some time at Disney.

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Day 2 - Saturday March 6 - we spent the day at the pool in our resort (Marriott Grande Vista) with some friends from Orlando and their kids. Grabbed some food from the pool bar and just relaxed for the day. In the evening, we went to CityWalk to see Wonder Woman 84 - slightly disappointing, but fun to go to a movie (we live in a small town with no movie theater). We stayed at CityWalk for a late supper, but everywhere we wanted to try was full, so we went to Hard Rock and used my free birthday coupon. We had a very nice dinner at Hard Rock and great service. I had a salad that was awesome, and my husband had ribs, which he loved.

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Day 3 - Sunday, March 7th - After being at CityWalk until after midnight Saturday night, we slept in too late to make it to the church we were going to try. We were looking for somewhere to eat lunch, and started talking about going to Universal for a couple days. I had read a review that the Mardi Gras celebration was really fun with lots of great food booths. We found out that we could get 15 month annual passes for almost the same price as a 3 day ticket, so we did it!

We quickly got ready and headed to Universal! Did I mention we went to Orlando for our Honeymoon? We did 3 days at WDW and 1 day at Islands of Adventure.

The first thing we did was buy a “tasting lanyard”! The annual passholder special was $65 to try 15 things from the Mardi Gras booths. Yes, Please!

We went on MIB, Fast and Furious, and wandered through Daigon Alley (we had never seen any Harry Potter movies, so we watched the first one as soon as we got home!) did a few more rides and ate a lot of fun food. We got a reservation for the Chocolate Emporium for supper. Food was good, but nothing spectacular. We got a brie appetizer that was ok. The truffle fries were good. Neither of us can remember what we ate for dinner, and I don’t have a pic, so apparently we’ll never know!

Went back into USF and finished the night with the Mummy, Transformers and Race through New York. Mummy was my favorite ride of the day.

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Day 4 - Monday, March 8th - There was a special early entry for annual passholders for the month of March, so we made sure to get to IOA at 8am to get right on Hagrid’s Motorbikes. It was worth it! Awesome ride! It was pretty chilly, so we got some hot butter beer - Delicious!! While we were in the theme, we stuck with it and did all the Harry Potter rides. Escape from Gringotts was too much for me even with my motion-sickness patch. I had to close my eyes almost the whole ride, and had to relax for a while after. We grabbed a giant iced coffee from Starbucks and watched the Blues Brother’s show, which was a great way to relax. We ate some more fun food and recreated some photos from our honeymoon in IOA. We got a dinner reservation for Trattoria, so we left Universal, changed into our Disney gear and headed to Disney! To be Continued…

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Finished off the evening at Disney! (Still Day 4) - We checked in early for our reservation at Trattoria, but they were not ready for us early, so we wandered around the EPCOT resorts.

We had a very fun meal at Trattoria with great service! We shared an awesome pizza appetizer, DH had a strip steak and I had scallops with ravioli, and we finished off with tiramisu. Unfortunately, we did not do a great job of taking pics of the food, but we were stuffed and had some to take to the room, and it was all delicious, but I think the pizza was the surprise favorite! Great night at Disney, but were really wishing we could have watched some fireworks from the EPCOT resorts!

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Last day - Tuesday Mar 9 - Again got up early and headed to IOA for early morning entry and straight to Hagrid’s Motorbikes, which we rode twice! I was definitely feeling worn out this morning, too many days of going hard started to catch up, so after Hagrid’s, I told DH had to do the rest of the rides alone. He did Kong and Spider Man while I sat in the sun and drank coffee. We wandered through a few stores together, and I found a great spot to rest in a “rest and relaxation” area. Yesterday we got ourselves a dinner reservation for Sanaa and were planning for a shorter day in the park.

I didn’t really mention that we spent lots of time using the rest and relaxation areas throughout the week. They were very nice, although sometimes a little too close to smoking areas. I needed lots of breaks, and it was nice to just sit with no mask for a while too.

While DH was waiting to get on Spiderman, I regretting not going with him, so I said I wanted to try to go on the next ride. We decided to do the Rip Ride Rocket (it had been down every time we were close to it all week). While we were waiting, I said I didn’t think I felt strong enough to go on, but when we got to the loading area, I couldn’t resist and I had to get on. It was awesome, and I’m so glad I did! I love roller coasters so much, but was just feeling rough at that point.

After that, we wandered around looking for the food booths we wanted to hit that we hadn’t done yet and finished off our tasting lanyard. I think our favorites of all the booths were the Cuban sandwich and the German Schnitzle sandwich, which was a breaded pork chop with amazing white gravy.

We ended the day with one more ride on the Mummy, which seemed much rougher than the other 2 times we rode it. From there, we wanted to hit the water rides in IOA before heading to our room to change for supper, so we got in line for Hogwart’s Express. It was posted at 30 mins, but after about 20, we checked and it said 60 mins. I think we ended up waiting over an hour, which felt like torture standing so long. By the time we got to IOA, we had decided we wanted to hit the Disney Character Warehouse to get gifts for the kids (we tried to find gifts at UOR, but couldn’t decide on anything) and we figured we wouldn’t have time to do the water rides and go back and change too, so we decided to head out.

We left UOR feeling like we had done just about everything we wanted to do. We didn’t get to the water rides, and I still regret missing Kong and Spiderman, but other than that, we hit all the ones we wanted - Velocicoaster wasn’t open yet, but we got a pic of the entrance. Last entry will have to wait for tomorrow…

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