Spring Break 2015 Report (long version - part 1)

Our 2015 Spring Break Trip - March 13-21
Yesterday we came home from our week-long trip to Universal, Discovery Cove, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Wet’n Wild. This was our fifth annual spring break trip to Orlando. My travelling companions were my DH and my 8 and 11 year old daughters. This was our first family trip that did not include WDW. We had fantastic weather! The high temperatures were 85F to 90F every day. We saw exactly 5 raindrops while driving back to our hotel one day.

This is an edited version (including adding pictures) of the posts that I made each day on the Touring Plans Forums. It is long but maybe someone will enjoy it. I have tried to include helpful details.

Day - 1 (3/14/2015) - Universal
Since I enjoy reading trip reports I have decided to post a summary of our March 2015 trip as we go.

We arrived last night for a trip that will involve four days at Universal staying at the Hard Rock Hotel (in the kids suite) then four nights at the Caribe Royale staying in a two bedroom villa (we have not stayed there before so I am really hoping it is nice). For the size of the room at Caribe Royale I am trying to figure out how it can be so affordable (I paid $205/night using a Black Friday deal). The second half of my trip involves a trip to Dunedin (near Clearwater) to see family, the dolphin swim at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld and Aquatica.

Our trip here from NYC was very easy. We even landed early. I learned that the free Wi-Fi on JetBlue works very well. Hertz at the airport is still disorganized. Like last year our car was not on the board for Gold Service but at least they were able to give us our minivan quickly. Last year we had to go to the other side of the airport.

We checked in without incident at the HRH. I am a Hard Rewards member. The person at the front desk checked for upgrades but none were available. Our GardenGrocer.com order was waiting for us. The bellman took our bags to the room with us as soon as we picked up our Express Passes and tickets so there was no waiting. I had thought that all rooms had been recently upgraded (so did the bellman who was telling us about it). Our kids suite has not been upgraded but is perfectly nice.

As is normal for my family we did not sleep particularly well the first night for a variety of reasons but it was not disastrous. Since my DH only tolerates the parks, we now let him sleep in while I take the DDs to the parks for early entry.

We made it over to IOA right at 8:00 a.m. There seemed to be vastly more people in the parks for early entry than has been our experience for our four prior spring break trips. I am wondering if Cabana Bay is having a big effect.

We picked up our pre-ordered PhotoConnect card and headed to Hogsmeade. When we got there about 8:15 a.m. the line for FJoHP was already 45 minutes. We decided that we should try to take the Hogwarts Express to US. They opened the line about 8:25 a.m. We were about the 10th ones in line. We walked through the long queue and could see the train from the platform. They started loading the train about 8:50 a.m.

Imgur

We thought the ride was really fun. When we got to Kings Cross we went straight to Diagon Alley. This was our first visit to Diagon Alley and we are loving it.

The line for Gringotts was about 10 minutes so we decided to get in line. In the short time we spent putting our bag in the locker the wait grew to 20 minutes. The line was moving very quickly (almost too fast). We were on the ride before we knew it. The ride paused for about a minute before we were released. We were about 30 seconds into the ride (right on the first downhill) when the ride came to a sudden stop. We were pitched forward about 45 degrees. Despite the several ride announcements stating that the ride would resume “immediately” it did not. We were stuck there for about 10 minutes. My DD8 who scares easily was very uncomfortable about the situation. The ride resumed but seemed to be missing some effects. It stopped again about minute later. This time we were only stopped for a minute or two. The ride resumed without incident. At the end we were given an Express Pass that is good though Monday for one ride. It includes FJoHP and Gringotts on the permitted list. We have not used them yet so I will need to figure out how these work since those rides do not have Express Pass lines.

Even though it was not quite 10:00 a.m. we decided it was time for Butterbeer ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s. There was no line and the ice cream was fantastic. We also saw the dragon “roar” for the first time while eating our cones. That was amazing!!!

Imgur

We then spent some time looking at the shops. I bought an interactive wand for the DDs. Once we got used to it, it was quite fun. The first spell was so hard that even the team member could not make it work.

DH joined us. We spent some more time in the shops. We then went over to ride Simpsons and MIB. By this point it was 11:30 a.m. so we decided to eat lunch at Simpsons. The lines were not very long but the service was very slow. I had the chicken and waffles, DDs had pizza and DH got chicken tacos from the truck outside. Everyone was happy.

We went back to Kings Cross to take the Hogwarts Express back to Hogsmeade. It was basically a walk-on. It is fun to see the different effects.

DD11 and I rode Dragon Challenge, Spider-Man and the Hulk while DD8 and DH rode all of the Seuss rides. The expresses passes were a huge help for this since we did that in about an hour.

We then met up and rode Popeye & Blutos Barges three times. DH and I wore ponchos while the DDs got soaked to the skin. We love this ride. The expressions on fellow passengers’ faces are priceless. It was then time (about 3:00 p.m.) to head back the HRH pool.

DH and I relaxed while drinking margaritas in the pool while the DDs swam and went down the slide over and over again. DD8 started participating in the DJ’s contests and had a great time.

Eventually we got hungry and ate at the pool restaurant. We all enjoyed our meals. DH took the DDs to Emack & Bolios for ice cream while I changed.

With a bit of rushing we made it back to US for the Mardi Gras parade. We found a good spot (right in front of Terminator). The DDs had tons of fun catching beads. At the end of the parade we headed back to the hotel.

Imgur

We are looking forward to more rides tomorrow. We noticed that HRRR was closed for most of the day. I am hoping that we can ride it tomorrow.

Day 2 (3/15/2015) - Universal
Today was day 2 of our trip. We all slept much better last night so everyone was well rested to start the day.

We made it over to IOA at about 7:55 a.m. Like yesterday there were huge crowds for early entry. I have really been surprised how much more crowded it has been than last year. We “walked with purpose” to FJoHP and found the wait to be 45 minutes. We had our special express passes that we received yesterday due to the issue with Gringotts. When we went up to the castle the TM said the ride was not running so we decided to do something else. We rode Flight of the Hippogriff (this is one of DD8’s favorites). We then decided to get in line for HE.

I think due to the issues with FJoHP the lines for HE were much longer than yesterday at 8:25 am. We still were on the second train and arrived at Kings Cross at 8:56 a.m. We headed straight to Gringotts. The line was about 75 people outside the ride. I left the DDs in line and went to check my bag. I did that very quickly and the DDs had already moved right up to the entrance. The wait was listed at 30 minutes. We timed the wait and it was only 20 minutes. The ride was vastly more fun without the technical difficulties that we experienced yesterday. When we got off the ride it was already at 60 minutes. It quickly escalated to 90 minutes from there.

Imgur

The DDs wanted to do more spells so we did that and had fun doing so. We went to Shutterbuttons and bought the DVD package. We acted out 12 scenes in front of a green screen. DD11 was wearing a green shirt so she had to work hard to keep that covered up. There is a $20 discount if you have a Star Card so it only cost about $50. This was really fun.

DD8 was hungry so I bought Butterbeer cones for them while they were in line for Ollivanders. The line moves much faster than I anticipated so I wound up holding rapidly melting cones while they did the wand show. They each wound up getting wands. I think they now have three each. DH showed up at this point.

We wanted to do Despicable Me but the wait was too long (standby was 80 minutes and the EP wait looked close to 30 minutes). We decided to see Twister (a first for my family). My DDs thought it was “awesome”! We then rode Transformers. That is another ride that we all enjoy.

We decided to go to IOA at this point because the DDs wanted to eat at Circus McGurkus. We enjoyed our lunch there. It we had wanted to we could have watched the Seuss show and taken pictures with the characters. My DDs seem a little old for that.

After lunch we split up. I took DD8 to Cat in the Hat (it does not spin nearly as much as last year) and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (DD8 made sure I got really wet) while DH took DD11 on Ripsaw Falls. We then rode Jurassic Park together. Our boat was filled with large people. We were in the last row and got soaked!!!

DH needed to spend some time on email so I took the DDs to Dr. Doom and Spider-Man. We then headed back to Popeye & Blutos Barges and rode that three times. It may be my imagination but it seems like because it is so warm (high 80Fs) that they have set it up so everyone gets soaked. We rode with a few people in jeans who seemed to have no idea how wet they would get.

We then headed back to the hotel for pool time. The same DJ that has been there on all of our prior trips was back with his air guitar contests. DD8 convinced me to participate. I did not expect DH to film this embarrassing event. I may need to find a way to delete it by accident:). We enjoyed our margaritas in the pool and the fun music and atmosphere.

For dinner we put the DDs in Camp Lil’ Rock and we went to Emeril’s. We had a fantastic meal. The food and service have always been wonderful there. We really enjoyed the banana cream pie dessert. The DDs had a great time at the kids camp. They are bed now and seem to have fallen right to sleep.

Tomorrow we need to finally ride FJoHP. Fortunately we still have our special express passes so that should not be an issue. We also need to ride Despicable Me.

The weather forecast is for another perfect day. It should be great.

Day 3 (3/16/2015) - Universal
Today was our last full day at the Universal parks. We arrived at IOA about 7:55 a.m. The crowds were very large but seemed slightly smaller than over the weekend. We went straight to FJoHP. The wait was posted at 30 minutes when we got there. The line slowed for the first time on the ramp in the greenhouses. This is about what we have experienced in past years arriving about the same time. I tried to time my wait but there is no cell coverage near the sorting hat so I could not re-open the app (after we closed it). The wait seemed to be pretty close to the posted wait. The ride was extremely fun.

We tried picking up our ride photo but the team member suggested doing so at the front of the park. I later learned that this is not possible. It you want a physical copy of the picture get it at the end of the ride.

Imgur

We then tried to ride Hippogriff with express passes. The EP line was about 5 times longer than the standby wait so we decided to come back later. The DDs did a bunch of spells and had a great time. We took HE over to Diagon Alley around 9:20 a.m. The wait was posted at 25 minutes but we timed it at 11 minutes. We still had our special express passes from the difficulty with Gringotts on Saturday. We showed them to the team member at the entrance and were on the ride in less than 10 minutes when the standby line was 120 minutes. When we got off the ride the wait had grown to 150 minutes.

DDs did more interactive wands and explored. We finally saw the Celestina Warbeck show. It was fun!

After this we went to Simpsons. This was another ride with a very long Express Pass wait. We were told the wait was over 30 minutes. DD11 and I gave up and rode HRRR instead. DD8 and DH rode the Woody Woodpecker ride after Simpsons. We all went to IOA for lunch at Thunder Falls. We usually eat lunch before noon when touring. We did not get there until 12:30 p.m. and paid the price with a long line. We finally got our food and were feeling refreshed. The DDs and I went back to ride Hippogriff twice. We then rode Spider-man and then split up to DD11 and DH could ride Ripsaw Falls and DD8 and I rode Dr. Doom.

We then rode Popeye & Blutos Barges three times and got soaked. It was then time for the pool and margaritas.

We went to dinner at CowFish and had a nice time. Despite being told it was a 20 minute wait at 6:30 p.m. we were seated in less than 5 minutes and our food came in about 30 minutes. My only complaint is that the appetizers and main course came about the same time. The food was good.

We then went back to US to ride Despicable Me with EP. There was basically no wait. DD8 and DH rode Transformers and DD11 and I rode HRRR. That was really fun. We had never ridden it at night before.

We check out tomorrow. We will be spending the morning in the parks before going to Wet’n Wild in the afternoon. We then will be heading over to Caribe Royale.

It was another fun day with great (if quite hot) weather.

Day 4 (3/17/2015) - Universal and Wet’n Wild
Today was our last day at the HRH And Universal.

Since we had to finish some last minute packing we got to IOA a little later than the day before. I think we made it through the turnstiles a few minutes after 8:00 a.m. We walked with purpose through the parks. Interestingly at 8:15 a.m. there was a large group (150 to 200 people) waiting for the HE line to open. We did not see that on the prior three days.

We made it to FJoHP at 8:18 a.m. just in time for the posted wait to increase to 45 minutes from 30 minutes, We got in line and timed our wait. It was 33 minutes. I think we were moving the entire time with no stopping. There was no snow in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom for us this morning (it was working yesterday). Once again we loved the ride. The DDs then wanted to spend more time trying the interactive spells. This is fun but frustrating (especially for my DD8) at times when the spells did not work. We wanted to ride Hippogriff but like yesterday the EP line was very long (likely a 25 minute for a very short ride) so we decided not to ride. My DDs were hungry so I bought them croissants from the food cart. They were quite good and only $3.00 for two.

Since my DDs did not want park hop today and DH was expected to meet us around 10:30 a.m. we decided to stay at IOA. We rode Spider-man twice with absolutely no wait. We then rode Dr. Doom. That ride looks so impressive but most other parks with a similar ride have more drops. We find it to be disappointing.

We then went over to ride Cat in the Hat. I am still disappointed that it does not spin like it used to. We then used our refillable popcorn bucket again. I am constantly amazed that they let you re-use those from year to year; it is a very good deal. I just wish they sold popcorn in more locations so the wait would be shorter (this was not an issue at 10:30 a.m. in the morning but it has been an issue in the afternoon).

At this point we split up. DD11 and I rode Hulk and Dragon Challenge and DH and DD8 rode the Seuss Trolley (they got stuck for a short while) and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Since DH was carrying my backpack we did not need ride lockers. I did embarrass DD11 by storing my phone and hat down my shirt.

We then met for an early lunch at Circus McGurkus. We were there about 11:20 a.m. Like Sunday the service at that time of day is extremely slow since they only have one person serving food in one line. We also heard the team members talking about how they raised the food prices yesterday.

My parents called while we were eating lunch and told me that they were moving an hour north of Orlando to The Villages. This means that we will be able to go to FL more often (awesome!).

When we finished lunch we went back to HRH to pick up our swimsuits and our car so we could head to Wet’n Wild. We had bought 3 park 14 day passes so other than paying $13 to park at Wet’n Wild there was no additional cost. FYI you access the parking lot from Universal Boulevard (it looks like you should do so from I-Drive but that is not right). The weather was perfect for water parks - sunny (not a cloud in the sky all day) and temps in the high 80s. We rented towels ($7 each but you get $3 each back when you return them and a locker ($12 including a $3 deposit). The towels were brand new and quite plush.

Unfortunately I forgot my swim shirt. I have a swim suit the same color as my swim shirt and I put that in our bag by accident. In the spring I have a sun allergy that gives me an itchy rash until my skin gets used to the sun so forgetting the swim shirt was a bummer. We rode a number of rides. Due to my sun allergy I eventually went to hide in the shade under some towels. DH and the DDs had a great time. DH generally does not like amusement parks but he loves water parks.

We last went to Wet’n Wild during our first Uni trip in 2011. For that trip we bought express passes. I think we would have been well served to buy them today. For example DD8 and I were in line for Disco H2O. The line did not move at all for about 15 minutes because every express pass holder was given immediate access to the line. Our total wait was probably 30-40 minutes for that ride.

When I first joined Lines in 2011 I remember there was a thread comparing Wet’n Wild to the Disney Water Parks. At the time we had only been to Wet’n Wild and loved it. After having visited both Disney water parks we vastly prefer those. I think my perception was clouded today by some very unpleasant people that I encountered at Wet’n Wild who were quite obnoxious. That being said we still had a great time this afternoon.

We stayed until almost closing at 5:00 p.m. We then went back to HRH to pick up our luggage. That was efficient and then we drove over to Caribe Royale. There was a little traffic on I-4 but nothing too bad.

The two bedroom villas at Caribe Royale are huge! There is enough space that we could live here. The villa is very clean. The bathrooms seem to have been recently renovated. The furniture is of a moderate quality but clean and comfortable. Check in was friendly and efficient. We ate dinner at Tropicale. The restaurant is dark and it took a long time for our entrees to arrive despite the restaurant only being a quarter full. The food was good.

I am doing a lot of laundry. The machine in our room works well but is tiny. We are quite happy here. I still cannot believe the low price for this resort.

Tomorrow we are off to Dunedin (near Clearwater) to see family and to go to the beach.

Notes about PhotoConnect - It is much harder to get photos than at Disney but the price is significantly lower too. Over four days we got about 35 photos. Generally these were at the entrances to the two parks and ride photos. On our last day we did find a photographer who took pictures on the bridge in Hogsmeade with great shots of Hogwarts. We decided not to do the Simpson’s couch photos because we did them last year. One benefit was a $20 discount on the “green screen” DVD at Shutterbuttons in Diagon Alley.

Imgur

Day 5 (3/18/2015) - Visiting Family in Dunedin
This was a non-park day. We drove to Dunedin (near Clearwater) to see my aunt and cousin. That is a pretty easy drive except for some ugly traffic on I-275 near the airport.

We ate lunch at Frenchy’s Outpost. My grilled grouper sandwich was excellent. I did not have it but apparently the lemonade is quite good too.

We then went to Honeymoon Island State Park. It was not crowded at all. There were lots of shells but lots of rocks too so you need water shoes. There is a very nice bathroom and changing facility there. It costs $8 / car to get in. There is also a nature center.

Imgur

Imgur

We left to drive back to Orlando around 5:00 p.m. The traffic was not bad until we got to I-275. Once again the traffic crawled for 30 minutes. Once we cleared that mess the traffic really sped up. Most cars were going 75-80 MPH. We stopped at a Waffle House for dinner. It hit the spot and was a great way to bring down the average cost of our meals.

While back at Caribe Royale we continue to be impressed with the resort. Our villa had been filled with towel animals (including Mickey) and my DH said the fitness center was impressive.

Tomorrow we have our dolphin swim at Discovery Cove so we are very excited about that.

Day 6 (3/19/2015) - Discovery Cove
Today was our Discovery Cove day. We were anticipating this day a great deal and our day exceeded all expectations! This day was wildly expensive but in our opinion it was completely worth it.

We arrived at the park a little before 8:00 a.m. We had to wait behind one other family to check in. The check in took about 5 minutes and included having our pictures taken for ID badges. Once that was done we had breakfast. Breakfast was good but certainly not gourmet.

For some reason we had to go to guest services to get our cabana assignment. We had purchased the elite package that included a cabana, full photo and DVD package, keepsake bag, dolphin stuffed animal and personalized buoy delivered by a dolphin. We were escorted to our cabana. It was in a beautiful location by the coral reef but very far from everything else. The cabana was awesome. It included stocked refrigerator with drinks (sodas and juice for us but it could have included adult beverages if we had wanted some), snacks, towels, a table with four chairs and two chaise lounges. It also had a heater that we certainly did not need.

We then got our wet suits, masks and snorkels. You have a choice of long or short sleeve (and leg) wet suits or vests. I chose long sleeve (in part to avoid the sun). The rest of my family chose short sleeve. We saw many people with just vests. The water for the dolphin swim and the coral reef is quite cold. The lazy river water is very warm. The wet suits are quite difficult to get on and off.

Since our dolphin swim was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. We spent a long time on the coral reef. This is really fun. There were huge numbers of fish and many really large stingrays as well as lots of smaller stingrays. If you are adult sized the wetsuit provides enough buoyancy to float but DD8 needed a life jacket.

We went over to sign in for our dolphin swim but found out that the dolphins were not cooperating (mating season is near) so our time was pushed back 30 minutes. We decided to head over to the aviary. This was fun but we should have done this earlier since the birds did not seem that hungry. We also had left our cameras at the cabana in the locker.

It was then time for the dolphin swim. The orientation was quite disorganized but as soon as we got to the water it was great. Our group (9 of us - our family plus two other families) was working with a dolphin named Capricorn. He is close to a 50 year old dolphin. He was huge - about 10 feet long. The trainer had us rubbing his back and learning how to make him speak. When it was time for all of the family pictures he decided that he was more interested in the female dolphins. He was allow to follow the girls and we were introduced to a new dolphin. Her name was Jenny. Jenny gave all of us (except my DH) the dorsal fin tows. Jenny is a much smaller dolphin than Capricorn. There was a bigger male dolphin named Akai that they brought over for the last dorsal fin tow. There were tons of pictures, both individual and family.

My DH a is turning 50 later this year so I surprised him by having the dolphin bring the buoy with the birthday message. Since DH’s birthday is quite a ways off he was very surprised.

When the swim was over were led off to a booth to choose the 8 printed pictures as well as the large poster that is included with our package.

Imgur

After this it was time for lunch. The food is good but not excellent. We decided to bring our food back to our cabana. It was very peaceful.

After lunch we had another long swim on the coral reef. Then we wanted to go see the otters and marmosets. That water was very warm and a nice change from the cool water in the coral reef. Then we spent a very long time in the lazy river. That water is also very warm and the river is very relaxing.

Eventually we decided to go back to the reef. We stayed there until about 5:00 p.m. when we went back to the aviary. We finally found birds that would land on DD8 (something she really wanted). We stayed there until closing time at 5:30 p.m.

It was absolutely a fabulous day that I highly recommend to anyone that can afford it. For today the listed price last fall was $259/person. I got a Black Friday deal for $219/person. I noticed that the last minute prices were about $100 more a person. It seems like you really need to book in advance.

The elite package was an additional $399. Having the cabana was a hugely special treat and we really wanted the photo and DVD package so the rest of it made sense.

After we got back to the hotel we let the DDs go swimming while we drank margaritas by the pool. We had planned to eat at the pool bar but they were not serving food. We ordered to go from Tropicale and that worked very well.

It was a completely wonderful day and we are looking forward to SeaWorld tomorrow for our last full vacation day.

Day 7 (3/20/2015) - SeaWorld
Yesterday was our last full day and our SeaWorld day. We made it to the SeaWorld parking lot by 8:30 a.m. but learned that the parking lot was not yet open. They opened the parking lot about 8:40 a.m. (That seemed annoyingly strange to us). Also strange was the fact that they had us park very far from the entrance even though we were some of the first people there.

We finally made it into the park. DD11 and I went straight to Manta. We waited about 3 minutes and were able to sit in the front row. It was my first time on that coaster and it was a very different experience. It felt like you were lying on your back when the coaster inverted. We enjoyed it quite a bit. We then went to Antarctica and rode that ride and saw the penguins. The ride was quite weird. We loved the penguins. They were very active. We were surprised how fast they could swim. We would have stayed longer to watch them but it was very cold.

We then met up with my DH and DD8 for the Blue Horizons show. That show was quite fun. For the second day in a row the dolphins were not really cooperating. They had to stop the show for a few minutes to let the dolphins go back stage to get ready to perform again.

After that DD11 and I went to ride Kraken while DH and DD8 went to watch a turtle attraction. Kraken was a walk on. I liked it but not nearly as much as Manta. For one reason there is no theming on this ride at all. This park seems to mostly attract families with small children so the coasters did not seem to have long lines. The wait for Antarctica was huge by late morning so we were happy that we rode early in the day.

We were all disappointed that Journey to Atlantis was undergoing maintenance.

DD11 and I went over to feed the Sea Lions. That was really fun. We had been warned that the birds were very aggressive and that was correct. For us and others sometimes the birds would intercept the fish in mid-air. A tray of food cost $5 or 5 for $20. Each tray contained 5 to 6 fish.
Imgur

Since we wanted to see the noon One Ocean show we had an early lunch. We ate at Spice Mill. This was very pleasant since we were able to eat right on the water. It was in the shade and there were ceiling fans so it was not too hot. The fountains also “perform” to the music.

We greatly enjoyed the One Ocean show. We sat at the very back of the splash zone and did not get wet at all. The people up front got soaked. At least for the noon show almost all seats were in the shade. Despite that we were still getting to be very hot. The temperature was in the high 80s. DD8 in particular was very hot and unhappy.

We went to stingray lagoon and shark encounter. Those were interesting but by this point we were too hot and wanted to go back to the hotel pool.

We cooled off in the room for about 45 minutes and then made it to the pool. This was relaxing and fun. It was so hot (about 90F) that it seemed strange that it was snowing in NYC.

For dinner we had reservations at the Venetian Room at the hotel (Caribe Royale). We got there at 6:00 p.m. and were the only ones in the restaurant. It started filling up within about 30 minutes. This is quite a fancy restaurant but the prices were comparable to the signature dining experiences at WDW. Appetizers were $13 to $20 and entrees were around $40. The included bread service was excellent with 5-6 different choices of bread and 3 different butters. Between courses there was an amuse-bouche that was a cheese filled pastry. After the appetizers they served raspberry sorbet.

The main courses were excellent. I had the pork chop, DD11 had the filet mignon and DH had the Dover sole. DD8 ordered off the kids menu from the more casual Tropicale restaurant but her meal was presented with as much style as the rest of us. My DDs were on their very best behavior so the waiter really enjoyed serving them.

For dessert DH and I each had the Carrot Bomb and DD11 had the Black Magic Dome. DD8 was given a choice of complementary ice cream. The desserts cost $12 to $14 and were excellent - especially the carrot bomb. Our meal took about two hours. We could have lingered longer but we chose not to.

I highly recommend this restaurant. It is pretty close to Downtown Disney.http://www.cariberoyale.com/dining/venetian-room/2

It was a great way to end the last full day of our vacation.

4 Likes

Really enjoyed this - the pictures are a great addition! What a wonderful trip! :smile:

1 Like

Thank you ! Great trip

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your trip. I love hearing what your kids enjoyed doing most. We are taking our DD12 and DS 9 for their first trip in June. Great story and pics!

1 Like

Great reports, thanks so much for sharing!

1 Like

Thank you! This was very helpful to me in my planning.

I’m glad to read your DD8 was ok on FJ. It scared me to death a few years ago! I’ve been worried about how my DD (she’ll be 9 by our trip) will handle FJ and the other thrill rides my DS12 will love, since I’ll be the only adult on the trip and we can’t split up. I hate to make him ride alone.

Interesting to read about the crowd flow and EP waits. I was picturing just walking on everything with our EP! (We’re going in June, hoping it won’t be as crowded as SB, but who knows?)

It sounds like you did fine arriving right at EE started. I’ve been reading we should arrive 30-60 mins prior. I also liked the idea of taking HEx to USF if it doesn’t offer EE.

After reading this, I’m thinking about the photo package.

Wonderful trip!

1 Like

I am glad that you found it to be helpful. If we had been more organized, we would have tried to get to the parks a bit earlier because I think it would have cut down on the FJ wait quite a bit.

Despicable Me and the Simpsons were exceptions for the Express Passes. Most everything else had an extremely short EP wait.

My DDs have very different approaches to rides. DD11 (who has always been quite tall) loved riding FJ as a 7 year old. DD8 loves it now but was very wary of it last year and only rode it once when she had the opportunity to ride it on three different days. DD8 still will not ride Ripsaw Falls.

1 Like