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Pre-Trip A rare trip with the entire family !

Most of the time when we post it's with my wife, daughter, and myself. We do have two boys who are 22 and 19, but they rarely seem interested in heading down to FL. That is, unless Universal Horror Nights is happening. So, we were talking a few weeks ago about heading down for Food and Wine, but the boys wanted to hit Universal. The tentative plan is to do a 5:30 AM flight from Philly on Thursday, 9/16 and drop the boys off at Universal for the day while my wife, daughter, and me head to Epcot. My daughter made reservations for Ratatouille at 3:00 PM. We figured that we can hit enough of the food booths that we want in three hours. We'll then head back to Universal afterwards to meet back up with the boys for HHN. We're getting Express passes for a Thursday night so I think we can hit all of the houses. Friday and Saturday plans are still up in the air although we're leaning towards one day at Universal and probably a hopper between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood. Plans are still in the making, but I'll keep everyone on board as things develop.
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just started firming up the reservations and ticket purchases last night. We tried to get Boo Bash for September 24th, but it's sold out. Airfare and AirBNB are secured. Flying out of Philly on Wednesday night. Wife and daughter are hitting Food and Wine on Thursday with reservations for Ratatouille in the afternoon. Me and my boys will be at Universal for the day. We're all hooking up in the evening at Universal for Horror Night. Friday will be half day Universal and we're going to do a Disney park in the evening. Saturday will be Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. As usual, going to be a jam packed long weekend.
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Trip is pushed off by one week because of schedules. We'll be flying out 9/22 evening with the same 3 day park schedule. I'm upset that our usual townhouse in Kissimmee is still not renting out. Crazy. Nice three bedroom gated community with multiple pools, but the owner is wishy washy on the Covid thing. That's their call on not getting any revenue. They haven't rented in 17 months, but we've been down to FL five times in that timeframe.
 
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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One month from today we will be coming home from our experience. Fortunately, it's still in front of us, and we're still firming up plans:)We still haven't been able to secure any really good ADR's except for breakfast at Trail's End; my first. We'd like to get an Art Smith brunch sitting, but all booked for now. We'll keep trying. Also would like one nice sit down dinner with the family.
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
Most of the time when we post it's with my wife, daughter, and myself. We do have two boys who are 22 and 19, but they rarely seem interested in heading down to FL. That is, unless Universal Horror Nights is happening. So, we were talking a few weeks ago about heading down for Food and Wine, but the boys wanted to hit Universal. The tentative plan is to do a 5:30 AM flight from Philly on Thursday, 9/16 and drop the boys off at Universal for the day while my wife, daughter, and me head to Epcot. My daughter made reservations for Ratatouille at 3:00 PM. We figured that we can hit enough of the food booths that we want in three hours. We'll then head back to Universal afterwards to meet back up with the boys for HHN. We're getting Express passes for a Thursday night so I think we can hit all of the houses. Friday and Saturday plans are still up in the air although we're leaning towards one day at Universal and probably a hopper between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood. Plans are still in the making, but I'll keep everyone on board as things develop.
Sounds Great! Following
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A bit of a disappointment as our oldest son did a last minute back-out from the trip. But today is the day, and we'll be making our final arrangements for a smooth departure. Going to be a late one. Flight leaves at 9:55PM putting us in Orlando at 12:30AM.
 
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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just returned yesterday afternoon from three days at the parks. It was a mix of Universal (Horror Nights) and a Disney Hopper day. Of course it's always great to visit my daughter and her dog in FL, and I'd do that in a heartbeat without going to any park, which I've done. But it's special when we go to the parks as a family. This was the first time my younger son (20) saw Old Key West and what he'll inherit as a vacation option in the future. He was impressed. Relatively smooth flights down and back. Luggage made it without any issues. I'm glad to see that Harrisburg, PA airport is opening up some routes from PA to FL because I absolutely hate flying from that cesspool of an airport in Philly. It's dirty, over-priced, and people that you deal with are mostly miserable. If you ever get the chance, check out the bathrooms in the baggage claim area. I've seen some nasty individuals using them; easy access for them because the bathrooms are at ground level and they can just wander in. During our descent yesterday the stewardess on the plane came over the announcements and said, "If you're visiting the area enjoy yourself, if you're returning home....sorry." Doesn't bother me; I live 2.5 hours away in a rural area.
There were some wonderful experiences this trip, and there were some discouraging situations as well. I'll lay it out as we go along here.
Hope you find it interesting.
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We scheduled a late departure from Philly so we can work a full day on Wednesday and hit the road at around 5:30 PM for our 9:55 PM flight. That put us arriving in Orlando between 12:00 - 12:30 AM. Our townhouse was about 25 minutes from the airport in Kissimmee so we didn't anticipate lying in bed until around 2:00 AM. We also have to drop off Bean at the Disney My Best Friend kennel before 10:00 AM so he is guaranteed playtime. This is how we schedule things. It's usually packed and has lots of time sensitive goals. The good thing was that MCO was absolutely dead. I never saw that airport so calm and quiet.






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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Did I say, "lying in bed around 2:00 AM" ? As Charlie Murphy would say, "Wrong !" I see Bean every 2 months or so for about four days at a time. I'm lucky enough to spend several weeks with the dog at Christmas and over the summer. He sees me as a 'play buddy.' When I went down to dog-sit last October I arrived in Jacksonville around 10:00 PM and went to my daughter's apartment for a restful night of sleep. Bean kept me going until around 2:30 AM.
When we arrived at our townhouse on Wednesday and started to unpack, he immediately found one of his toys and goaded me for playtime. I stayed up with him until 2:45 AM. My wife and daughter were heading to Epcot the next day for Food and Wine and a Ratatouille reservation for 3:00 PM while my son and I were headed to Universal Studios. We would all meet that evening for Horror Nights.


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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I got up early Thursday to hit the local Starbucks which was about a mile away. I knew everyone's favorites, so I hopped in the car barefoot and ran for the order. Surprisingly, everyone was up without any delays. Had to get Bean to the kennel before 10:00AM, and my son and I were getting dropped off at Universal for the day while my wife and daughter would be going to Epcot.
It was already in the 80's, and you can see my son feeling it while we were on the parking garage roof @ Universal. The crowds seemed dense for a Thursday, but the wait times barely exceeded 30 minutes. I could not get any great pics of Hagrid's or Velocicoaster because
of the Universal "locker policy."

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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We did manage to get most of the key rides in without much waiting. Hagrid's was a bit of a pain because they had a 20 minute wait time posted, and the ride must have shut down three times while in line. It ended up being around an hour. One of my complaints came about here. After the preshow, you go through a large room with the queue line passing back and forth for the length of the room. We ended up in the room for about a half hour waiting with at least 100 people. My son and I wore our masks. Universal was playing an announcement that they RECOMMENDED to 'please abide by CDC guidelines and practice social distance and wear a mask indoors.' I can honestly say that 35% of the people were wearing masks. Frustrating since I'm not vaxed. I did have the disease back in May.



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macefamily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I just turned 54 yesterday. My wife does not do any type of thrill rides. She gets severe motion sickness. I try everything at least once. So Thursday was my first time trying Velocicoaster. I was actually excited. The queue is really cool, unfortunately I had to deposit my phone in a locker before entering the line. They did a nice job of setting this ride up. Sound and video are state of the art. Great concept. That being said, let me get into the ride itself. IT IS INTENSE ! So much so, that I have announced to my family that I tried it once, and that is enough. Severe G-forces, lots of corkscrews, and you must be upside down 6 or 7 times; one time it seems like you're upside down for 10 seconds. When I got off, I was dizzy and breathing heavy. My daughter who is 25 yrs old, had the same feeling when she tried it. I felt like I was beat up. Luckily, The Watering Hole is just up from the ride, so I went for a Long Island Iced Tea remedy.



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