Wine and Dine...to the Finish Line! Fall 2017 TR NEW 11/7 A Change of Pace

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by chunkymonkey, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Wine and Dine...to the Finish Line!
    A Fall 2017 Trip Report with Chunkymonkey and Chubbyhubby
    Sept 1-5, and Oct 30-Nov 4 2017

    Hi Everyone!

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    I'm Su-Lynn, aka Chunkymonkey, and to my left is my DH, Steve aka Chubbyhubby

    Yes, I just finished my Ohana Means Chunky family trip report, but I had this one all lined up and ready to go! I can't wait to share everything about these trips! This TR will cover two trips, one in Sept just for a long weekend where we visited Universal as well as two nights at the Yacht Club and got a brief taste of the start of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Then in October, we embarked on a week-long cruise on board the Disney Magic with Marvel Day at Sea - Trip Report here. Not two days after we got back home, we flew down to Orlando for another week of Disney fun, this time at the Grand Floridian where we celebrated our 9th anniversary, went to our first MNSSHP, ate the most expensive meal of our lives, and oh yeah, we ran a 5k towards the end of our trip. Yes, I had a momentary lapse of judgement when I signed us up :laughing:. Let's just say - we had a PACKED week!

    And the best part was that I had a ton of DISmeets!
    It was so great to meet old friends and new ones! :grouphug:

    Here's some intros:

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    I'm Su-Lynn, aka Chunkymonkey, 42-yrs old, lover of all things Disney, including Star Wars and Marvel! I work in IT for financial services and I write A LOT for work - mostly technical documents, so as a break I love writing trip reports to re-live all my Disney memories (maybe a little too much as you can see from all the trip report links in my signature :rotfl:).

    Fave Disney Park: Epcot
    Fave Signature: Tiffins
    Fave Non Signature: 'Ohana
    Fave Quick Service: Satul'i Canteen and Columbia Harbor House
    Fave Nighttime Show: Happily Ever After and Illuminations
    Fave Rides: TSMM, Flight of Passage, 7DMT, BTMRR and the Peoplemover!
    Fave Princess: Belle, Snow White, Mulan, but they change seasonally haha.
    Fave Character: Minnie, Pluto, Eeyore, Stitch also change seasonally.


    My DH, Steve, aka Chubbyhubby, also 42, is also very much into Disney although he'll say it's all my doing (which it probably is). He works in Financial Services and he also is really into gardening! He's currently trying to do some hydroponics in the basement using a Nutrient Film Technique. Now can someone tell me where you've seen that before? :)

    Fave Disney Park: DHS
    Fave Signature: Yachtsman Steakhouse and Tiffins
    Fave Non Signature: 'Ohana
    Fave Quick Service: Be Our Guest (PPO breakfast only)
    Fave Nighttime Show: Hmm I think it's Fantasmic but he'll watch just about anything.
    Fave Rides: TSMM and just about any thrill ride.
    Fave Princess: Doesn't really have one, but I think he likes them all.
    Fave Character: Gaston (nuff said)

    About Us:

    We lived in New York City for the longest time but we currently live in the suburbs of New Jersey where we bought a little house with a back yard and a basement for Steve's hydroponics so now the Garden State is home! (I still tell people I'm from NYC though. Old habits die hard I guess.) We got annual passes to WDW in December of 2016 and in total made 8 trips down to experience it all, from a birthday/Princess 5k trip, to Flower and Garden, a sneak peak of Pandora, a Chunky family trip in August, two trips for Food and Wine, and finally our last trip in December where we became official DVC Owners at the Polynesian!:cheer2:

    This TR will cover the two trips we took for the Food and Wine festival! We stayed at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort and the Yacht Club in Sept. Then in October/Nov we stayed for six nights at the Grand Floridian in a studio villa using rented points (we weren't DVC owners then!) and then two nights at the WDW Swan. We had amazing food (and wine!) on this trip - we had a few wine tastings, we ate at Yachtsman, Tiffins, Citrico's, 'Ohana, Hollywood and Vine, Grand Floridian Cafe, Morimoto Asia, Monsieur Paul, as well as the aforementioned gastronomical dinner at Victoria and Albert's. Not to mention all the food we ate during the F&W festival! It was all sooo yummy!


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    (This is Steve channeling Gaston, even when he's Grumpy!)

    Hope you're in for this tale...as we Wine and Dine our way to the Finish Line!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  2. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  4. Monykalyn

    Monykalyn DIS Veteran

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    Wait a minute-am I the first one on board??
    Yay for fall trips!!
     
  5. lauren_elizabeth

    lauren_elizabeth Disney World Lover

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    I’m here! Looking forward to hearing all about it!

    Where do you get all your cute skirts you wear to the parks?
     
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  6. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Sept 1st - 3rd Part 1: Universal Studios Orlando

    I'm going to quickly do a few posts on our time spent at Universal before we headed over to WDW. It's rare that we are at this park so I thought I'd preserve the memory of our trip here. Feel free to skip if you're not interested in Universal stuff. :)

    The reason we went back to Orlando so soon after our big family trip in August was because I got tickets to attend the Orlando Informer Meetup event at Universal Orlando's WWoHP. It included all the Harry Potter rides and attractions in both parks plus dinner and beverages (non-alcoholic), and ice cream. Sounded like fun! We were going to stay at Disney the whole time and just Uber it over for the event but in the end we decided to just stay in Universal and experience two days at the parks since it had literally been 8 years since our last visit. We got park tickets using Steve's American Express points and they were good for 2 park hoppers for each of us. :thumbsup2 We stayed at the Royal Pacific Resort so we got Express Pass, which I LOVED having. It is definitely worth it to stay at one of the resorts which offer it!

    We flew down after work the night of Sept 1st and Uber-ed it over to Universal's Royal Pacific Resort.

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    The standard king room is very nice although a little small, but hey, it was nice to have a king room without having an up charge like at Disney. We stayed here the last time too in 2009, before they renovated to the bright color scheme. I really like this resort just because it's Universal's version of the Poly which is my favorite WDW resort (and our home resort!)

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    I thought the bathrooms felt very clean spacious even though there was only one sink. We were tired and hungry and of course it was raining so we didn't venture out to grab a bite. It was late too so we ordered room service. Sorry I don't have a picture but we got a burger and fries to split and it was quite good.

    The next morning we got up early and made our way to Universal. I don't think we bothered with the early entry to HP since we pretty much had all night at the event to do so.

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    So when it comes to Disney I have a game plan, schedule etc, but at Universal, I have NO PLAN so we kinda just wandered around and went on rides as we saw them. That is why Express Pass was so awesome! I think the first ride we went on was Minions.

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    We did Transformers too. Both of these rides were new to us.

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    We went to the Leaky Cauldron for breakfast because I wanted to try it.

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    I am sad to say, I was not impressed with the food. The space was awesome but the food was...lifeless and bland, it was also cold. I did enjoy the Lemon Squash drink I got though, it tasted like a fresh lemonade.

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    I was really impressed with Diagon Alley. I love the attention to detail. I really like Harry Potter and I started reading the books way before any of my friends did but it was also a long time since I've been really immersed in Harry Potter's world so it was nice to kinda be exposed to it all again.

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    We rode Escape From Gringott's with the Express Pass and we didn't have to wait long. Absolutely loved this ride. I remember feeling ill on the Forbidden Journey but this ride was much better and I like the ride vehicle better.

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    After Gringotts I think we ventured out of Diagon Alley since we knew we'd be spending a big chunk of that evening there. We did a couple rounds of Men In Black which we loved, and then headed over to do the Simpsons ride, which was a little more vomit inducing than I remember, but I think Universal in general has a lot of simulation rides and riding them all that morning might have been a bit much.

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    I saw the giant donut and I kinda had to get one even though I knew it would be too sweet, I am more of a salty snack person. I also got the giant donut refillable flask which I thought was so cute!!

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    I think we only managed to eat a third of the whole donut so we saved it for later. It was worth it though as pictures with giant pink donuts are just so much fun!

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    We walked through some of the Halloween decor they were just setting up.

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    We then went on the Jimmy Fallon ride - Escape from New York. I was amazed at how much they make the building's interior look like Rockfeller Center. I used to walk through there all the time when we lived in the city, it's uncanny!

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    This ride has a virtual queue so you are not in a line, but more like in "waiting rooms" with groups of people - there are activities you can do like video games and wandering exhibits while you wait. It's an interesting concept and it works because the ride is pretty much a giant theater so everyone files in at the same time - it's another movie/simulation ride. I thought it was just ok, I think I liked waiting inside Rockefeller center more!

    Steve and I met up for lunch with one of our friends who lives near Orlando. He has annual passes to Universal so it was cool to meet up with him. We decided to grab some lunch at Cowfish outside the park.

    Continued in Next Post...

     
  7. JoAnnPan

    JoAnnPan DIS Veteran

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    YAY - another TR! :jumping1:
     
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  8. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Sept 1st - 3rd Part 2: Orlando Informer Meetup Event

    We had lunch at Cowfish with our friend who lives in Orlando. Cowfish is a sushi and burger fusion restaurant. I decided to get sushi and Steve got a burger and we just shared, in the spirit of the restaurant's name! I thought the sushi was ok and the burger was better.

    We got these tempura fried stuffed jalepenos to start, they were good.

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    And some sort of tuna tartar with some crispy rice crackers. I thought this was meh.

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    My sushi roll: I can't remember which one it was but I think it was spicy tuna topped with tuna avocado. I thought it was amazingly bland despite all the toppings, and I didn't think the tuna was the freshest, but it was decent enough for me to eat half.

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    Here's the burger we shared, it was spicy and had bacon. I don't think you can go wrong with that.

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    After lunch we went to get our bracelets for our event that evening which were being distributed from tents set up at Citywalk. After that we headed back to the resort for a swim and to get ready for that evening. We said our goodbyes to our friend and walked back to the resort. I really love the close proximity of Universal's resorts to the parks. It definitely has a more Disneyland feel. Although the walk wasn't that short, it was fine.

    Back in the room I got this shot of the wall mural: You can ignore Steve on the couch with our messy luggage.

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    We went to the pool for a bit but then it started raining so we headed up and just rested up before the event.

    Here was my outfit for tonight. Dress is from Hot Topic. I should have worn sneakers though, as it was damp from rain in the afternoon and I kept feeling like my feet were sliding everywhere. Steve wore a Hogwarts t-shirt with all the different house insignias - an equal opportunist!

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    Steve looks like he's about to pass out. I think he's still tired from our August trip with the family, LOL.

    We decided to head into the event from the IoA side. I think we took the boat launch there. Upon entering we still had some time before the event was to officially begin so we went on Spiderman. I am not sure what the revamps to this ride were since they re-did it after our 2009 trip but it was just as fun as I remembered it to be.

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    So after that we made our way over to Hogwarts, and of course we got lost because we aren't familiar with the park layout but so were a bunch of people so we spent like 15 minutes probably backtracking and following other people who had no clue either, LOL.

    Ah we made it!

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    Finally we found our way and the first thing we did was to go on Forbidden Journey.

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    OMG I felt so ill after this ride. I could not go on it again. Blech.

    We watched some of the singers - forgot the name for them, and got some frozen Butterbeer, which was a lot sweeter than I remember!

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    Then I said we should do the Dueling Dragons. I'm really really glad we did this as a few days after our trip they announced the ride was closing. For some reason, although I'm not a roller coaster person, this coaster I can handle. I can do all of the Universal coasters which is funny as I can't do EE or California Screamin', I just freak out, LOL.

    You have to put your stuff in the free lockers for most of the thrill rides here which is pretty cool. The walk to the ride from the entrance to the Dueling Dragons was really far! But we went on it twice once on each side. I think I liked blue side better, but honestly it felt the same. Then we went on that ride that is like the Barnstormer...Flight of the Hippogriff. It was fun!

    Then we went on Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley - it was our first time and I was very impressed, they did a great job with it.

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    It was a good thing we rode Gringotts that morning as it was closing a bit earlier than the event was ending so we didn't get to go on it. They were serving dinner now so we decided to eat. It was a little crowded at certain stations but I realized there were several stations of food around the area so we had to look for one without such a long line.

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    Dinner was roast chicken, salad, pasta, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies. Pretty standard buffet fare but it was plentiful and tasty. Chicken was moist, mashed potatoes were nice and buttery, it was all quite good.

    All the drink stations were open too which was great. You could get pretty much any drink on the menu it seemed. We got some frozen Butterbeer, and I got the Fishy Green Ale to try.

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    Do not get the Fishy Green Ale, it was so gross. It was like liquid icing with boba balls. Horrendous. I had to toss almost all of it. :crazy2: I ended up getting another Tongue Tying Lemon Squash. I like things that are a bit tart so that was probably why I like it.

    We did get some delicious ice cream at Florean's Fortescue though, it was free at the event and the line was long but it was worth it. I got a double scoop with Clotted Cream and Chocolate Chili. I loved the clotted cream, tasted like a cheesecake.

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    There were also desserts and coffee being served at stations around the park. I had a fun time trying things. They were also giving away bottles of Gilly Water which is just regular water, so we stocked up on those to bring back to the room. :)

    These were pumpkin tartlettes:

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    We left Diagon Alley and decided to head back on the Hogwart's Express to Hogsmeade. Meanwhile I got this picture with the double decker bus:

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    I've never seen King's Cross station look so empty. It certainly wasn't that way the next day!

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    Here's Steve trying to enter Platform 9 and 3/4:

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    Another enjoyable ride on Hogwarts Express!

    When we got back to Hogsmeade we had enough time for another round on Hippogriff, and then the event was pretty much over. It was over much too quickly I thought! It was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it to get a nice taste of the Harry Potter rides without the lines, although I'd pay attention to the actual ride closures since Gringotts closed early - which was kind of disappointing.

    We walked through some of the stores on the way out.

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    I would get some for my nieces but I don't think they'd like these kind of beans very much, LOL.

    It was a really fun day but we packed a lot in! We definitely got some rest that night. Coming up the next day - we finish off Universal and head over to the Yacht Club!

     
  9. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Yup FIRST!! Yay!!

    Welcome!! Thanks for joining!
    Thank you! I wear skorts to the parks and I get the majority of them from www.Sparkleskirts.com - they are running skirts with shorts and they are so cute. I tend to buy a bunch when they are having sales and I also got a bunch during Run Disney expos because they are expensive but they are wonderful, they don't ride up and have a ton of pockets!
    I also have skorts from Athleta and Colorado Clothing (you can find them at Costco or on Amazon) which are cheaper but I find that I don't reach for them as often as the sparkleskirts. Usually I look in stores in the athletic dept and can probably find tennis or golf skorts that will work too.


    Yay thanks for joining this one!! :)
     
  10. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

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    Here!
    Will catch up later. :)
     
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  11. dnllmz

    dnllmz DIS Veteran

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    Woohoo! Following along for another report. I do miss the Sienna commentary. 8-)
     
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  12. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! Can't wait to hear about another trip!! First, you have the best outfits. Love the BB8 shirt and your dress for the party! :rotfl: at the comment that Steve was still tired from the family trip. I bet that took a lot out of you! Super fun to go to Universal. I've only been once and like you, it was an odd experience to just wander without much of a plan or knowing where anything is when trips to WDW are planned with such precision and I have the map committed to memory. I was too chicken to try the Harry Potter rides but loved walking around and soaking up the details. I had lunch at Leaky Cauldron and while not something I crave it was reasonably good. Looking forward to hearing more!!
     
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  13. wdwnut61

    wdwnut61 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the link now I have to go back and read :goodvibes
    We went to Universal last month enjoyed it so much we upgraded to AP’s.
    We just booked a 7 day trip in May as well as over Thanksgiving.
    I do love EP it’s great to be able to take your time and know you’re not going to be waiting in a long line.
    Loved Escape from Gringotts but Forbidden Journey make me feel :crazy2:
    RPR is so pretty and I love your Marauders Map dress
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
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  14. pkondz

    pkondz . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky

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    How did you score these tickets?

    It does look pretty tiny.

    Kinda in love with your relaxed pose here. :)

    Wait a second! This is the same pose!!! Did you even go on this trip? Or is the whole thing just green screen????

    Always a good reason.

    Love this shot.

    Well.... poop.

    I've never been, but seen a few TRs and it really looks incredible.

    ::yes:: Did Uni in CA. It was enough.

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    I'm beginning to suspect I am too.

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    :laughing: Eat it!!!!

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    Great shots!

    Huh! Interesting combination. Kinda opposites.

    Cute! So pretty!

    The mural is nice, too.

    Love your dress. :)

    :laughing:

    Awww... :hug:

    I really liked it. Wonder if it's the same on both coasts?

    Nice one. Haven't seen that angle before.

    Did he make it?
     
  15. MeghanEmily

    MeghanEmily DIS Veteran

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    :wave: Hi Su-Lynn!

    I love this! You guys look great. Little Mermaid meets Tangled!

    I really liked the rooms at RPR too...but also found them small. Something about the hallways and rooms there just felt a bit claustrophobic to me. But I'd definitely go back!

    I love how laid back we can be at Universal!

    I'm a big fan of this drink. I try to get it whenever we go. I wish they sold it more places. I asked a team member about it and he said he was pretty sure the only place to get it normally was inside the Leaky Cauldron.

    Perfectly themed!

    :rotfl: Poor Steve! Understandable.

    Great timing! I'm sad to see this leave, even though I can't ride it anymore these days. But I'll be interested to see what gets put in there in its place.

    This is perfectly my speed! Such a cute little coaster ride :)

    Regular water...that's like $12 a bottle! :laughing: Ok really though, probably like $4 a bottle. But still. Good call on stocking up!
     
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  16. dizneeat

    dizneeat DIS Veteran

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    Finally able to catch up ........ going back to read, so will comment later.
     
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  17. KailaH

    KailaH Earning My Ears

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    I love hearing about the universal side of your trip. I really like the rides at universal, but I love the feel of Disney more. I am new, and I love your trip reports!
     
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  18. MiracleCream

    MiracleCream Mouseketeer

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    I’m here and ready to read about your awesome adventures!
     
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  19. chunkymonkey

    chunkymonkey DIS Veteran

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    Sept 1st - 3rd Part 3: Last Universal Day, Hello Yacht Club!

    On our second day at Universal we checked out of the resort, left our stuff with bell services, and went to Universal Studios again just to complete some rides. I spotted the Hello Kitty store and I was very excited!

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    I am such a girl, I loved Hello Kitty since I was a kid, LOL.

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    I ended up with a T-shirt of E.T. with Hello Kitty that was really unique.

    Then I found real Hello Kitty! I dunno, it's weird to see her actually tall and with long limbs.

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    Then we found the Madagascar penguins. (That's where they are from, right?)

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    I did not want to leave without going on E.T. I was a child in the 80s and it is really fun to do stuff that reminds me of that time period. I love everything about this ride! Then it was back to Hogwarts Express to get over to Hogsmeade. It was so much more crowded today!

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    Hogsmeade was packed. We decided to have an early lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

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    At the Three Broomsticks I tried the Cornish Pasties, which are these meat pies, served with a salad. They weren't very good at all, I did not like the filling (had a tinge too much rosemary which I don't like) and thought it was very underwhelming. I can't remember what Steve got and I don't have a picture but it obviously wasn't memorable either!

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    Sad little cornish pasties. i didn't like the filling inside, so the whole thing was just blah.

    Got Butterbeer though!

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    The interior is great to look at. Wish the food we had was better.

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    We left Hogsmeade and went over to Seuss Landing and got on the ride that is like the Peoplemover of Universal. It was so cute and fun, I loved it!

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    After that, we did a bunch of rides on the Hulk. Express pass rocks. We didn't notice what was different to the ride when they refurbished it but this ride is awesome. I can handle this coaster with no problem. I dunno why the Universal coasters are ok with me and some of the Disney coasters are not.

    Overall I really enjoyed Universal - it doesn't suck me in as much as Disney, but the food we had wasn't so great, which is one of the highlights usually when we're at Disney. I guess we just need to try more stuff next time. I find a lot of rides, aside from a few, are kinda one and done for us. Like the Transformers Ride is kinda like the Spidey Ride just with a different movie, and a lot of ride are the movie/simulation rides. I did really love the coasters, E.T. and Men in Black though, and I would totally go on them multiple times, as well as the Seuss Peoplemover. :) I know Orlando Informer has another event coming up in June - it definitely sounds like something I'd do again although not sure if I will be doing the June one or not.

    After the morning and most of the afternoon in Universal, we decided to head to the Yacht Club. I had made a few FP+ for that evening so we thought we could try and catch at least one of them before the night was over. We went back to the Royal Pacific, picked up our stuff, and called and Uber.

    Soon we were arriving here:

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    I love this resort. I love New England. Steve and I went to school in Boston, and Boston is like our second home, and we really like it at the Yacht Club. Wish the Yacht Club had a DVC wing! We checked in to our standard room, which I was pretty certain would be really far away from everything. It was but we realized it was close to a staircase that led us outside not too far from the boat launch.

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    Walking down the hallways to our room though felt like a looong time! Reminded me of the Boardwalk.

    Here is our room. It was recently remodeled and I thought it was gorgeous! I like hardwood floors in hotel rooms, I just feel like it's cleaner. I don't want to know what is buried deep inside carpets, but at least with floor I feel like I can see how clean they are.

    Here's a little panorama of our room:

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    Bathroom: Love the double sinks and the glass shower doors. It felt so much cleaner. I also like having a tub as I like to soak in mineral salts after a long day at the parks.

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    Ok this closet is genius, The rods light up when you open the doors. I also love the cute little nightstands.

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    Here was our view. We got standard view, so nothing special but it was a lot better than a parking lot or construction which was what I expected.

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    OK we were all checked in and we were ready to head to Epcot for some Food and Wine goodies! Stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  20. MiracleCream

    MiracleCream Mouseketeer

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    Me tooooo!!!! My favorite store to visit when I was a kid was ALWAYS the Sanrio store! (Lived in dallas then San Antonio and both cities have the Sanrio stores) it’s like pure heaven to be surrounded by Sanrio stuff. :lovestrucAnd you got a pic with hello kitty?!? I’m 34 but I would be hard core fan girling there!!! We had a hello kitty cafe tour bus stop here but my husband and two boys were NOT down for it. So I just sadly looked at the pictures online about it. Huge FOMO! :sad:Next time, I’m just gonna drag them to take me!

    Ohhh that’s how you’re supposed to use them! :rotfl2:I have a couple of these that I got cheap on amazon but use them in the hallway where there’s no outlet to plug in a night light. Awesome for finding out how to properly use these!


    Universal studios look fun but not a must do every time in Orlando. Nope, not like WDW with sooo many must dos! The room at YC look great! I keep contemplating staying there in 2020 when Star Wars land is open.
     
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  21. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Messages:
    8,654
    Wow! That's a fantastic standard view!! I'm a bit shocked it's not classified as water view since you can sorta see the lake through the trees. I really like the Yacht Club too. And with the new quick serve and Ale & Compass - both lounge and restaurant - it's even better. I haven't stayed in a refurbed room - those look great. Especially that closet feature! It's totally the little things. :)
     
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