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Trip Report no tropical storm can slow us down - Nov 5-12, 2022

Orlando is my favorite place to vacation! There is literally always something new and I feel like it is impossible to do it all! Earlier in 2022, we decided to do something we never had done before, take a Universal only vacation. While it was hard for me to make the trip to the Orlando area and not go to Disney AT ALL (not even a quick stop at Disney Springs), we really enjoyed our time there. We purchased Universal Annual Passes prior to our March trip, knowing that we were going again in November for a Disney and Universal trip.
Who: Me, Aaron, Joseph (8), Sadie (6), gramma, Aunt SuSu, Aunt Denise, and Kathy. (You won't see much of Denise or Kathy, because they did a lot of things on their own)

When: November 5-12, 2022
Where: our first night we stayed at Holiday Inn across from Universal (I love that you can walk to Universal) and the rest of the trip we were at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (Aunt Denise owns a timeshare there so she got us a great deal that was hard to pass up)
We did Universal for three days, Disney for two days, one day exploring the Magic Kingdom Resort Hotels, one day at the pool, and one day stuck in our room because of the tropical storm.

November 5
Our flight was at 5:30am on Spirit from IND to MCO. The plan was for my mom to spend the night at our house and leave around 3am. Well she didn't feel well the night before (earlier in the year she had her gallbladder and appendix removed in an emergency surgery) so she stayed home that night which meant we had to go North to go South, so we had to get up earlier than originally planned. Surprisingly everything went smooth that morning and we were at the airport and on the bus from the long term parking lot to the terminal by 3:30am.

Only thing that didn't go very smoothly, was that the airport didn't have any coffee locations opened that early in the morning. Coffee should be a 24/7 thing at every airport! Everything about the flight was perfect. We arrived to MCO and were on the fonorail by 8:40am.

We went straight to the Dunkin on MCO and got COFFEE, donuts, and bagels! This was our first time staying off property without a rental car, which meant it was time to call and Uber! I had purchased a travel car seat for Sadie that is foldable and compact, so I didn't have to worry about getting an uber with a car seat. We decided to go this route because I didn't want anyone to worry about driving in an unfamiliar place or not getting an adult beverage while on vacation just because they had to drive. I actually loved it and it was super convenient and I felt like it wasn't that expensive (usually around $15-$30 depending on where we were going). We checked in at the Holiday Inn at Universal for our one night stay and I paid an additional $30 to do an early check in so we were able to go straight up to our room to take a nap! I really don't know how long we napped for but we were in CityWalk by 1:30, ready to start our adventure!

We took it slow and got donuts and tacos in Springfield before watching the Horror Makeup Show (which is amazingly funny!)

We had one happy gramma when we found Scooby and Gang! Her favorite!!

Afterwards we went on ET and just kind of walked around. I will admit, we didn't do many rides at Universal the first two days because no one really wanted to wait in lines. We did some spells around Diagon Alley.



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After doing some spells the kids and I got frozen butterbeer while Aaron got one of the Harry Potter beers, I think it was the one with dragon in the name. We people watched while enjoying our beverages and then headed to Ollivanders. The kids and I saw the show during our trip in March but my husband and mom had never. We were speaking to the cast member who was in the waiting area about if she had ever met any celebrities while working and she told us a really cool story about Dave Bautista. My mom was so excited to watch the show, she is not much of a Harry Potter fan but is into experiences and shows. After getting into Ollivanders, the wand master (or whatever they are called) spoke to many different people in our group, asking them if they had wands and after asking 4 people, they asked my mom and she was the first one to say she didn't have a wand. Watching my mom's face glow with excitement after being chosen was something I will never forget.


My mom had no intentions of purchasing a wand this trip because the kids both have wands and were planning on sharing with her if she wanted to do a spell. She was so full of joy and excitement after the show, that she couldn't stay still for a photo!

I knew that my mom wanted to purchase it but it was our first day and I know that she had other things in mind (She really wanted some items from Italy at Epcot), so I told her this was my gift for her. We walked around and she got to use her own wand on some spells. Then we started our walk back to our hotel (well I had rented my mom a scooter for this trip so she just rode back).
Earlier in the day while we were at the Horror Makeup Show, Aunt SuSu sent us a text that their flight was cancelled and that Aunt Denise was working on getting them rescheduled. So on our way back to our hotel, we checked in to see if they had rescheduled yet and they told us they expected to land around 11pm now.


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Sunday, November 6
My kids are still young and wake up at the crack of dawn no matter what! I wanted to let my mom sleep in, so Aaron, the kids, and I headed to the Friday's attached to our hotel for breakfast buffet. Since we were only staying there one night I didn't get our grocery delivery yet plus the kids are free if you stay at the hotel, so it just made sense to eat there. When we got back up to our room after breakfast, we gave Aunt SuSu a call and she said that they finally got to the Vistana around 1am and their plan today was to go to the grocery store and hang at the pool. I gave my mom two options, I would get her an Uber and she could go hang out with her sister at the pool or go Island of Adventures with us and we would head to meet us with everyone at Vistana around 3pm. She decided to head to IOA with us! Sorry but I didn't take many pictures this day because we didn't do too much. We rode Jurassic Park River Adventure and were seated in the front row. My mom is not a fan of dinosaurs but she survived! Then we stopped and she got an adult beverage.

I told her she couldn't drink and drive, so I rode her scooter while she enjoyed her beverage. We headed to the Hogwarts Express to catch the train to Universal Studios.

The parks were pretty busy so all we did was go watch the Bourne Identity Stunt Show and go to the Hello Kitty Store so Sadie could buy a paid of Hello Kitty ears before heading to City Walk for lunch. We decided to try the sandwich place at the top of CityWalk and that was a mistake. It took forever to get our sandwiches when there was no one even in their except one other family. Plus it wasn't that good.

We walked and rode back to our hotel to get our luggage and took an uber to our home for the week the Vistana Resort. There was traffic so the driver took us some back roads to miss all the highway traffic. We got to Vistana around 4pm and the line to check in was almost out the door. I knew my kids were not going to enjoy waiting an hour for literally nothing, so while I stood in line, Aaron went through our suitcase and got the kids swimsuits so they could meet Aunt SuSu, Aunt Denise, and Kathy at the pool. I think we finally checked in around 5:30 and they shuttle took us to our room. While getting all the items back in our room, my mom called and said that everyone decided to go to Disney Springs for dinner and wanted to know if we wanted to join too. Of course! We walked to the pool to meet up with my mom and the kids, who were already in the bathroom changing back into their clothes.

Aunt Denise came and picked up my mom while we hopped in an uber to meet them at Disney Springs. We walked around and they were shocked at how busy it was. I told them it was pretty normal for it to be this packed. The adults wanted to grab some adult beverages at one of the kiosk but I had my heart set on a dole whip with rum! While Aaron, Joseph, and I went to get dole whips, everyone else went to find a place to eat. I tried to tell them usually you need a reservation to eat almost anywhere that is sit down, but Aunt Denise has a way to get what she wants and she was able to get all eight of us seated at the bar together at Rainforest Cafe!



we finished our dole whips while ordering dinner. I think we were ordering dinner around 8:30, which is about the kids normal bed time.

Sadie ended up falling asleep after eating and since we didn't bring the stroller, we had to wake her up to leave. As you can see she was still pretty tired when were waiting for our uber at 9:45pm.


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Monday, November 7
Today was our first day all together! We normally get up pretty early because the kids bus comes at 7:16am so we are pretty used to being up around 5:30-6am daily. I woke up and ordered some groceries through the Shipt app. Our original plan was to go shopping the day on Sunday but we were having too much fun. I ordered some water, soda, snacks, taco ingredients, and breakfast stuff. Since my mom had her gallbladder removed earlier in the year her stomach has been pretty sensitive so she needed some food she could eat. The groceries were delivered around 9am and we enjoyed a quick breakfast. My mom decided to ride with Aunt Denise to Universal, so we called an uber. We were pretty lucky to get some nice drivers this trip, we had the four of us plus the stroller and scooter and they never complained! Aaron was enjoying driving the scooter to the entrance of Island of Adventure.

I think it was around 11am when we finally entered the park. We met up with everyone and we headed straight to Hogsmeade because Aunt SuSu is a fan and wanted to try out the kids wands and look around.
My mom and her sister, Aunt SuSu, with Hogwarts!

It was pretty packed but we looked around and the adults decided they did not want to ride forbidden journey, they were worried about getting sick. So we headed to Burger Digs for lunch because the line for Three Broomsticks was very very very long! After lunch we decided to head over to Universal so they could see the other side of Harry Potter but the train was down, we decided to walk and Aunt SuSu used my mom's scooter.

On our way to Diagon Alley, we saw Jimmy Fallon's panda and sadie loves pandas so she wanted her phot with him. It was cute....we don't watch late night tv so we have no idea what or who that is but she was happy.

We split up for a little because Joseph, Aaron, and I wanted to ride The Mummy and the wait was only 25 minutes. I am not 100% sure what they did but I am guessing it was girly and fun! We had never been on The Mummy ride and wow! It was so fun!!! I love our picture from the ride....it really shows how much fun the three of us had!

When we got off the ride and walked out of the gift shop, my mom and Aunt SuSu was just walking up....without Sadie. Of course, I was like where's Sadie? and they both without hesitation go "I thought she was with you" my facial expression immediately changed and I think they could both tell that it wasn't funny and I was scared. This was all within seconds and they said that she was with Aunt Denise and Kathy. They apologized so many times. It wasn't funny :mad:
we met up with them and my mom took the kids into the candy store and bought way more candy than anyone should ever buy. Why? Why do grandparents do that? maybe I will understand when I am a grandparent one day, but the kids do not need bags of candy!!! plus they shouldn't be eating gummy candies and half the bag was full of gummies. Can't use the excuse that my mom didn't know that they can't have gummy candies, she literally takes them to the dentist with me! I love my mom but she totally spoils the kids!
We got to Diagon Alley around 4:30 and walked around the shops and did some spells.


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It started to rain so we got in line for Gringotts and this is actually the one and only ride we all did together, the WHOLE TRIP! good thing Aunt Denise had someone take our picture all together

WOW that was fun! Sadie and I had never been on it before because we thought it might be too intense for her. Aaron was hungry and couldn't end our Universal trip without getting fish and chips. Joseph, Aaron and I enjoyed dinner at Leaky Cauldron while Sadie went with the other adults to see the wand ceremony again.

Afterwards, all the other adults were tired so they headed home. Sadie proclaimed she wanted to ride Gringotts again, but Joseph wanted to do the Mummy again. We split up, Joseph and I went to the Mummy and Sadie and Aaron rode Gringotts again.

We ended our Universal part of the trip on our favorite rides! I enjoyed the mummy ride so much that I made a shirt for our next trip! (I got a cricut for my birthday this year so made shirt for this trip and our next trip, next trip is January 21-24 but it is just Aaron and myself...woohoo! We have never in the 10 years we have been married, taken a trip alone except our Honeymoon which was to Disney in 2012). I believe we got back to our resort around 10:30 and put the kids right to bed.


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Tuesday, November 8
This is the part of the trip I was most looking forward to! While planning the trip I asked all the adults if they would like to join us for a character meal at whatever location I could get and/or breakfast at Whispering Canyon. No one wanted to do a character meal, what?!?! Aunt Denise and Kathy didn’t want to join us for either. So I booked a party of 6 for 10:45am at Whispering Canyon Cafe. I didn’t give anyone a hint on what this experience was going to be, just sent them a link to the menu. Aunt SuSu suggested that we all dress up since we were going for bunch. I wasn’t going to say no to that! I figured it would add to the fun! I wasn’t just looking forward to bunch, I was crossing visiting the Wilderness Lodge off my Disney bucket list! It’s been in there for years but it was something I couldn’t do without Aaron and this was his first trip back since 2019. This wasn’t just a bunch and back to hotel kinda day, I created a scavenger hunt through all the MK resort! I watched YouTube videos and looked up photos of the lobbies and gift shops to create a little booklet on what to find.
I also added fun things like “take a picture of you and Aaron holding a Star Wars toy.” It was such a super fun experience and we got so many awesome pictures! The scavenger hunt started while we waited for our table and included some things at our table.
We arrived all dressed up and we’re seated within 5 minutes of checking in. We sat down and then they threw the napkins and straws at the table and my moms and aunts faces looked so stunned. But as soon as our waiter started talking they realized what was going on and really joined in on the fun. My mom and aunt SuSu both got the mimosa flight while Aaron and I got the bourbon sweet tea which I didn’t like at all so Aaron drank both.

Joseph, for some reason only known to him, was cranky.


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A couple things on the scavenger hunt was a picture of all of us eating, which Joseph decided to take.

Our waiter was great, he told Joseph he was in the wrong park because he was wearing his hogwarts robe, gave me a hard time because he caught me eating off Aaron’s plate while he was in the bathroom, and even put Joseph in jail because he was cranky. Joseph’s jail time actually cheered him up!

He started singing an old song called Highway Patrol which he sings with his Pop Pop.

Sadie had to give a spin at some jail time of course.


Unfortunately, we were unable to do the well known ketchup joke while there. Our waiter said they didn’t have any bottles so he just brought us a little cup of ketchup 😢 I knew it would have been the highlight because it’s a family joke that Sadie eats her ketchup with a side of fries. We finished up our brunch and headed out to the lobby to do our scavenger hunt. First one off our list was a picture of us all on the little bridge. There just happened to be a photopass cast member there and took our picture on the bridge.

He wanted to take picture of the two kids but Joseph was set on crossing other things off his list so he just took some of Sadie.


The photog then offered to take Sadie and do some more photos with her. They went upstairs and Sadie had a private photo session for about 15 minutes. Sadie felt like a Princess!



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After Sadie's personal photo session, we went around the Wilderness Lodge searching for the things to cross off our scavenger hunt. They had to find the hidden mickey on the fireplace, an owl, an arrowhead, and count how many animals were on the totem poles. Some pictures of us crossing things off our list at the Wilderness Lodge:

Wearing ears with Sadie

With a purse with Gramma
the last on our list was a picture by the waterfall and our plan was to take the boat to MK but as soon as we took the picture, it started to pour! you can even see the raindrops in the picture


we ran back into the Wilderness Lodge and walked to wait for the bus to MK.
I think we were all a little disappointed to not be able to cross the boat off our scavenger hunt but it's good to be able to just go with the flow! We headed straight to the monorail so we could make it to our next stop....

the ladies in their ponchos!

any guesses where our first stop is? I know everyone knows.
The Contemporary!
Some of the things they had to find was the 5-legged goat, a mickey head we could walk through, and county how many bears they could find on the Mary Blair mural.

Picture with Aaron and a Star Wars toy...check!

I have attached a pdf of the scavenger hunt booklet I created to this post! feel free to make it your own!


  • Disney scavenger hunt.pdf
    1.2 MB · Views: 20

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