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Trip Report The NeverEnding Story

Hello WDWMagic friends!
It’s been a long time since I stopped by.
Last time I was here, things were looking like this:

And now…they are looking like this

What have we been up to in the two years since my last trip report?

Well we went to WDW in September 2021 to celebrate a 6th Birthday

Then I went sans kids in March 2022

We were back in April 2022 for another birthday

Annddd then we were back in July, August, September, December, February and April because….we live in Florida now!

Our big move took the better part of a year on both sides of it, but we are finally settled and loving it. I’ve been away from the boards after feeling Disney-Ed out now that we’re local but I am hoping a comeback will help me get some of the magic back. I can’t wait to share our adventures with everyone!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part one)
Since moving to Florida, we’ve been lucky enough to have friends and family visit often. We had friends coming for spring break who we took to Disney in August, so Universal was on the agenda this time.
Our adventures started with a visit to Citywalk a week ahead of their arrival for lunch and activating our tickets.
We planned this a little last minute and it was a weekend, so some of the places I would have liked to try didn’t have availability. We ended up settling on Margaritaville for lunch. We used to live near another location but have not been in years so figured we would give it a try.

The kids got some delicious fruity drinks

I wish I could say my alcoholic version was delicious but it tasted like regret.

The kids enjoyed their meals but I can’t say the same for the adults. I ordered the crab cake sandwich and it was just lacking in every sense of the word. R (my husband) was along this time and he felt the same way about his food. The whole atmosphere of the restaurant was just sad. I think this one is way past it’s prime and I hope they make way for something better soon!
After lunch we secured our tickets and probably could have hopped right into the park for a few rides but we had other plans.
We took advantage of the parking validation offered by cinimark and went to see the Dungeons and Dragons movie. The process for parking reimbursement involves showing your parking receipt and movie ticket and getting handed back 30$ cash which was a little funny to me.
The movie was great and we had plenty of movie snacks to make up for the lackluster lunch. The kids were counting down the days to the bigger trip when we left.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part two)
Before we knew it our friends were here and it was time to head to Universal Studios. We decided to sleep in before making the trek over to Orlando but we arrived to Lowes Royal Pacific a little after 10am.
I expected to run in and grab our included express passes but was pleasantly surprised that our room was already ready. We unpacked the car, loaded everything into the room, and headed to the water taxi.

We decided to head to Universal Studios first, it was our youngest friend (K)’s first time and the globe picture was a must.

The kids also enjoyed this cute photo op for the Mario movie which had just come out.
Even with express passes the wait for the Minions ride was about 20 minutes. The kids thought it was well worth the wait though.
After minions we headed to the Mummy ride, which we had done previously and O and Z both loved. For some reason at the point O decided to refuse to ride and resulted in a serious meltdown on her part. She recently watched some of the Mummy movies and developed a phobia. I was not amused but sent Z along to ride with our friends.

A margarita from Chez Alcatraz was much needed and adequately refreshing after the meltdown. I remembered that I had packed the kids some uncrustables and they chowed down while I sipped.

Once refreshed we were ready for a few more rides but had a quick appointment with a Shark.
We moved on to Men in Black which was a very quick line with the express pass and fun for all. I was the only one to hear the prompt to push the red button, so I won the high score but O would have beaten me otherwise.
We took another breather to refill water bottles in the coke station nearby and then headed towards the Simpsons ride.

The line was about 10 minutes with the express. My kids enjoy the Simpsons but K wasn’t so sure. 15 seconds into the ride motion I was VERY sure that I regretted skipping Dramamine. After the ride stopped all 3 kids were adamant that we should go on again and the adults were convinced that we needed to leave the park ASAP.

They were all smiles on the ride back to Royal Pacific and plotting how to get back on that Simpsons ride.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part two)
After several hours in the sun walking through the park, we were ready for the pool. We got the kids all dressed, made our way down to the pool area, and as we were walking in the gates..the pool closed due to weather. This is is a reoccurring theme to my trips but the kids were still not prepared for the disappointment. We tried to ease the tension by grabbing a seat at the pool bar restaurant for a treat-but then that promptly closed as well.
We decided to cut our losses and head to our dinner reservation early. We couldn’t go to Orlando without a bit of Disney so Disney Springs it was for this day. I was able to bump up the time a bit but we still ended up waiting about 15 minutes to be seated.

The kids had recovered from their disappointment about the pool by this point and were ready for one of our favorite restaurants.
We have been coming to Frontera since it first opened on Z and K’s first Disney trip.

Everyone was happy to be back and hungry.
We started with the seasonal guacamole and it was a 10/10. I wasn’t sure how I felt about mint in guacamole but it was perfectly balanced.

I wish I could say the same for the margaritas that I had talked up.

Frontera has some of the best margaritas-but they are pricey. This one was “El Dios Chinola” for 20$. I’ve had this drink on several occasions and it was nothing short of amazing, on this day though it tasted completely different. There was a strong flavor of menthol that grew with every sip. By the end it tasted like a bad cough drop. I am not one to speak up when things go wrong in a restaurant but this time I had to ask our server if they had changed the recipe. His response was that he wasn’t sure if the recipe had recently changed and that it was probably just a new bartender. That explanation felt less than satisfactory and really leaves me wondering how frequently I am going to want to visit from now on since it’s not the first time I’ve had issues with the consistency of the drink flavors. It’s such a letdown to be looking forward to a drink you know and love to have it come and be completely different.
Luckily though, our food was all out of this world good.

Carne asada, plantains and street corn for the adults. The kids enjoyed quesadillas and tacos.
After dinner, we had promised the kids we would do some shopping, but not before I snuck in a quick stop at Joffreys.

O picked out some earrings and Z opted to save his money for universal. I found so thing I couldn’t live without but forgot to snap a picture so I will have to update next time I use it.

We had one more mission to accomplish before heading out of Disney Springs. I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures of different dole whip flavors on instagram and I was influenced.

This one was amazing, luckily Z was willing to share since I didn’t buy myself one.
“Swirls on the Water” really needs to be named “Swirls by a Volcano”. As soon as this thing started spewing pyrotechnics everyone’s ice cream was a sticky mess and we were very ready to head out.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part 3)
We made our way back to Royal Pacific and luckily were able to get the kids into the pool. While the pools were heated, the air wasn’t super warm after the storm that had rolled through. We let the kids swim as long as we could handle the temps while the adults took turns heading to the hot tub. After a couple of hours it was time to get the kids to bed but I was ready to eat again so we ordered room service.

Somehow we managed to eat more than half of this before everyone passed out for the night.
The next morning the kids were up bright and early so I took them all to breakfast so Ks mom (also K) could get a little more sleep.

We squeezed in some photos around the resort.

The lobby smell at Royal Pacific is top notch and the decor gives off a tranquil luxury. I defiantly snapped a lot of inspiration photos for my own home.
As soon as the pool opened, we were ready to head back in and get a good dip

It was much easier to swim in the warm sun than the night before but I still snuck in some hot tub time. We got out in time to head back up to our room and shower before checkout. Once we packed the car back up, it was time to head back to the parks.

O insisted on wearing her robes even though it was 85 degrees out. Our first order of business on this day was to get on ET which we had skipped the previous day. This time I remembered my dramamine.
We saved ETs home world and headed to try a Duff beer. I am not a beer drinker but the older K needed to try it. She said it was actually just yuengling or some average beer brand? The kids petitioned to ride the Simpsons ride again and were vetoed.
Instead we headed to Diagon Alley for a Butterbeer. The only kind of beer I like 😆

Wicked Sisters

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
So jealous of you living in Florida. Loving this report and it’s great to see so many reports at Universal recently as we are there in September.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part 4)
I had put in a mobile order for the Leaky Cauldron hopeful that there wouldn’t be too big of a crowd, but it was Spring break week so that was not going to happen. We luckily got to wait inside. The kids had scarfed down leftover pizza before hotel checkout so they weren’t hungry but the adults were so we ordered fish and chips to split. The kids were happy to share Butterbeer and Butterbeer ice cream.

The fish and chips hit the spot, although I think the Yorkshire Fish Shop in Epcot serves better ones. We finished up eating pretty quickly and we were ready to take on the crowds.


I can not stand how cramped the walkways get on both Diagon Alley and Hogsmede. The people standing trying to get a picture/video of the dragon breathing fire was almost impossible on this day. Luckily once we got to Gringotts we could use express pass.

K was adamant that she does not like Harry Potter, but she recognized goblins from the new Howgwarts video game which she does like. Luckily she enjoyed the ride.
We were ready to catch our train but The rain caught us instead with a passing shower.

We made it to Hogsmede relatively dry and the sun was back out. I stashed our things into lockers and we rode Forbidden journey. K decided she liked that ride as well but it could have been improved with some goblins or a house elf. By this point we were all a little tired and I was starting to develop a blister from damp socks so we decided to make our way out. Our swift departure was held up by an issue with lockers. I am not a fan of Universal’s locker system. On this trip we had water bottles for each member of our party in a backpack with a few other essentials. The size/shape of the items meant taking almost everything out of the bag and splitting it between 2 lockers. This was a pain to say the least. On this last occasion I somehow locked the ticket needed to open one of the lockers in that same locker in the commotion. I ended up opening the locker that held 5 water bottles but not being able to open the locker with my bag. There was a line of others with locker issues following the locker attendant around and it took a while to be rescued. By that time the kids were all melting down and we had to promise them a treat on the way out.
It was a long trek to the exit, but we finally made it to the shops near the entrance of Islands of Adventure. K and K shopped some more for souvenirs and Z had his eye on some Mario toys. We realized that they were charging 40$ for a toy that costs 20$ at Target so I promised to order it for pickup later that day. The kids each picked a treat as promised and we said goodbye to the parks. The adults needed a pick me up as well so we decided to mobile order from Bend the Bao on our way out.

I enjoyed a blueberry boba while we waited for the water taxi.
When we arrived back at Royal Pacific we decided to sit and eat there rather than make a mess in the car.

The kids enjoyed cupcake flavored cotton candy.

The bao hit the spot. I had three different ones to try. Crab cake, spicy fried chicken, and brisket. All three I would definitely get again but I think the chicken was my favorite.
We said goodbye to the Royal Pacific, but we were greeted with a sweet farewell. They were handing out cookies in the lobby and the kids were not too upset with a second treat.
Overall we had a great little trip to Universal and a great rest of our visit with K and K, but our April adventures in Orlando were not over.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part 5)
Just ten days after we headed home from Universal Studios we were headed on another weekend trip. We had a birthday to celebrate and since moving to Florida our WDW birthday celebrations have kicked up a notch. This trip included myself, husband R, birthday girl O and her brother Z.

This time it was O’s 9th birthday. I let her pick how she wanted to celebrate.
After a quick breakfast at home we were on the road to WDW. The first order of business was to visit a Disney arcade, specifically to get rubber ducks.

O was given the choice of any hotel on property and she chose All Star Music so that she could get rubber ducks and take them swimming with Donald in the Three Cabaelleros pool.
The kids wanted to sample some other games while we were in the arcade.


After trying almost every game in the arcade we were ready to hit the pool.
We swam for at least an hour before there were murmurings of “I’m hungry” coming from the children. We found a shady spot to sit while I mobile ordered from intermission food court. The kids enjoyed macaroni and cheese and a cheeseburger while R and I split chicken tenders. There were no complaints in the house.
Afterwards we indulged in some frozen treats

Non alcoholic strawberry for the kids.
Pina colada for me.

My drink hit the spot but it made me wishing I could have the passionfruit version I tried at Blizzard Beach a few weeks prior:

The addition of passionfruit purée takes it to another level. I am not sure if there’s anywhere else on property that serves this version and Blizzard beach is currently closed so it might be a while before I get me hand on one again.
As we sipped our drinks we got a room ready text. We were in the broadway section this time which I felt to be a happy medium as far as noise level from the pools vs walking distance to the main building.
O wanted to make sure she got her birthday button before we headed to the room. When we made our way to the lobby it was full of cheerleaders-it was a competition weekend. We luckily didn’t have a long wait. A very friendly CM asked if she could help us and was more than happy to get O her button. She made it very special by teaching her a 9 year old handshake.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
April Adventures (part 6)
We settled into our room and at this point it was about time to start washing up for dinner. We took some photos around the hotel on our way out.

O’s choice for dinner had us heading here


She and I had a girls night out at the Boardwalk in the fall and she wanted to go to Trattoria Al Forno again, mostly because they have childcare gelato for dessert.

We only had to wait a minute after checking in to get a table ready text.

O and Z both love these Disney kids menus

I ordered a basil lemon-drop martini but definitely did not get a basil lemon-drop martini. Whatever this mystery drink was it was tasty enough that I didn’t bother to inquire further.
We ordered garlic bread and calamari as appetizers and both were amazing. The calamari was gone in an instant between the four of us but I did manage to snap a picture of the garlic bread

It came with marinara sauce on the bottom which made it even more delicious.
The appetizers left us with some room left for our entrees and were a promising start to the meal.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
GApril Adventures (part 7)
Since the May adventures have already begun, I guess it’s time to wrap up our April TR.
Our entrees arrived and the kids were a little disappointed that the pizza was no longer Mickey shaped like it was the last time we dined at Tratoria Al Forno.

Neither kid though the pizza was very good and they have never met a pizza they didn’t like. My meal was pasta with shrimp and I thought it was decent.

R had a steak which I didn’t get a picture of. He reported that the meat had no seasoning and the side of potatoes was two small potato wedges.

After we finished our meals, there was a surprise for the birthday girl

The Mickey mousse cake was a hit. I’m not a chocolate person so I opted for an espresso martini instead.


There was edible glitter sprinkled on top which was a nice touch! Overall our meal at Trattoria Al Forno was ok just felt a little lackluster on some counts. O left happy so that’s all that mattered.

We explored the boardwalk a bit before heading back to All Star Music.

We spent the rest of the evening between the two pools and everyone slept well after the long day.
We had one last thing to check off the birthday wishlist the following morning.

We were also able to squeeze in arcade time, shopping and pool time before checkout. Our April adventures were great but hoping for May to be even better.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks to everyone who followed along with my April trip :) I have finally fully recovered from my May adventures and I am ready to report!
Magical May

Myself and a rotating cast of friends and family members
Where: Cabana Bay at Universal Orlando, Disney’s Riviera Resort and All Star Movies.

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