Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 10 - Monday 26th April - Pass-a-Grille

We woke this morning from the best nights sleep we have had since we’ve been away! The sun was shining outside after a night of thunder and lightning storms and we were ready for warm weather, sand and surf.

We had no food, so we went out for breakfast, which we enjoyed right next to the beach. Then off to the supermarket to get food and drinks for the rest of the week.

When we returned, Bubbles desided he needed a nap, so has a nice 2hr lay down. Spanky sat out on the deck and read some book out in the sun.

After lunch, we headed across the street (think nice quite residential street) to the beach. It was windy today so the water had small waves. The water was nice, not cold, just comfortable.

We had dinner at the Hurricane restaurant a couple of blocks away from our apartment, it was nice and filled the hunger hole.

Currently, its 9pm and Bubbles is ‘resting his eyes’ again on the couch, and loving that we have windows to let the breeze in and don’t have to have the aircon on unless we want to!

Day 9 - Sunday 25th April - Kennedy Space Centre

Today we were up the earliest of our whole Disney stay (well, it was 645am and that to date the earliest we’ve gotten up). We did a final check that we had everything, put it all in the car, had breakfast and headed off to Kennedy Space Centre.

The drive took about 1hr 10min and was fairly simple – just follow the signs. We went through a number of tolls to get there, they were interesting to start with, but after the 3rd one we had got the hang of it all. We had saved up a whole stack of quarters and had them in a little ziplock bag and when we saw the signs a mile out saying how much it would cost, Bubbles would get the money out so that all Spanky had to do was throw it in the collector and away we go. Thank god that The President taught Spanky how to throw good, the aim was off on only one out of 6 throws.

We got to the Kennedy Space Centre by about 930am and pick up our tickets (we couldn’t print our tickets at home as they processed the payment 3 times and had to do refunds – although we ended up losing about $10 in the international transaction fees and the change in exchange rates).

We had a good wonder around the rocket park and some of the exhibits, then headed off to our 11am tour. The tour was good, it took us up close for a look at the Shuttle launch sites, the landing facility, the Vehicle Assembly Building, International Space Station processing facility and also over to Cape Canaveral for a long distance view of the launch site over there.

Currently there is a Shuttle out on Launch pad 39B, is the shuttle for mission STS-132, space shuttle Atlantis (ready for its last mission) and Launch pad 39A is still set up from the launch of the new Atlas rocket that went up 3days ago. (We could bore you all with the many facts that we know about the Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, and NASA, but we won’t, except to tell you that there is only 3 more space shuttle missions left.)

After having lunch at the Saturn V centre, we went back to the main Visitors Centre, checked out the last few things there, and then headed back to the car.

Off we set on out 2.5hr drive to the other side of the state, aiming for Pass-a-Grille. The drive was easy, it was all on freeways and just following the signs to Tampa. Bubbles was still affected by the cold that he had and was a little doped up on some meds that we had got him, so he struggled to stay awake for the drive (that was his reason anyway). We got to Pass-a-Grille just after 7pm, found the Inn we were staying at, meet our lovely Host, Sheila, and were shown our apartment.

It then started to rain. Actually, rain is the wrong word. It started to Storm.

We headed out to a nearby restaurant, had fish & chips (Bubbles had been hanging out all week for it, and it was well worth it) , then headed back to the apartment.

During a break in the downpour, we were able to move our luggage into the apartment and settle in.

Day 8 - Saturday 24th April - Animal Kingdom

Today we went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This park is set out in different lands (Africa, Asia, DinoLand, Discovery Island) and the main focus is on Animals and conservation.

For a second day in a row we got to the park before opening. As soon as we were aloud in through the park, we headed straight for Kilimanjaro Safaris. The Safari takes you on a jeep ride through Africa where you see a large number of African animals (Elephants, Hippos, Giraffe, etc) .

We had heard that the other main ride is Expedition Everest, so we headed there straight after the Safari. We got on the ride within 10minutes and absolutely loved it! Best rollercoaster in Disney World.

After this, we headed over to DinoLand, did all the rides there, then kept walking around, checking out the Jungle trecks, Conservation station and Forest trail. By this time Spanky was wilting, so we stopped for lunch at Yak & Yeti.

After lunch, we again rode Expedition Everest (not the smarted thing straight after lunch). Then picked up some fastpasses for Kali River Rapids for use later in the arvo.

As it was just after 1pm, we had to head off to the Disney Dolphin resort to pick up our hire car. We took the bus there, found the hire company desk, signed the forms, got the keys and headed out to collect the car. Spanky was a little worried about driving on the other side of the road for the first time, but we got back to our resort in one piece. Back at the resort, we filled up our water bottles, and headed for the buses to go back to Animal Kingdom.

Once back at Animal Kingdom, we headed straight for the Kali River Rapids and both got soaked, which was fine as it was about 30deg and humid. After watching It’s Tough to be a Bug! In 3D, we stopped for a Fro-Co (that’s a Frozen Coke) (Hello to Patrice and Lucille), watched the afternoon parade then headed back to the resort.

Bubbles seems to have received the cold the Spanky has had, so he had an early night, while Spanky packed up all our stuff getting ready to leave tomorrow morning. We are going to Kennedy Space Centre and then driving back across Florida to Pass-a-Grille, near St Pete’s beach.

Approx distance walked: 10km.

Day 7 - Friday 23rd April - EPCOT/Typhoon Lagoon/EPCOT

Today we actually got up early and made it to EPCOT park by 845am for the park opening at 9am. We planned to do the last couple of main rides that we didn’t get done the other day, so we first headed off to Soarin’ along with the masses of other people. This ride is like being in a hang glider flying over different areas of California and by 930 we had done the ride. Strangely, Bubbles was the one to feel a bit seedy after this ride, who would have guessed?

We then headed straight over to Test Track. We enjoyed the ride, but the ride kept stopping in different sections for periods of time, so it wasn’t as fun as it should have been.
Just after 10am we left the park, heading to Typhoon Lagoon again. There was less crowds today than yesterday. We did the slides that we liked best from yesterday again and spent some time in the wave pool.

We again left early afternoon and headed back to the resort for a rest.

We had a 630pm dinner booking a Coral Reef restaurant at EPCOT, so we headed back there at about 5pm. The Coral Reef restaurant has a wall of windows into a big aquarium. The meal was great and watching all the fish, rays, sharks and SCUBA divers was lots of fun.

After dinner we found a spot to watch Illuminations, a fireworks and lightshow located on lake in the world part of the park. The show was great, with the fireworks really close.
After a bit more of a wonder around the park, we headed back to the resort.

Distance walked: approx 8km.

Day 6 - Thursday 22nd April - Typhoon Lagoon & DTD

Today we went to Typhoon Lagoon, a water park. For some reason we enjoyed this water park more than Blizzard Beach. It was much hotter today, about 30deg, and busier at the water park, but we were still able to do all the slides.

The crowds started to get a bit unbearable for Bubbles at about 1pm, so we headed back to the resort and had lunch. We also went for a walk around our resort, checking out all the different themes of the buildings and the pools. The resort is set out with building from different decades, the 50’s to the 90’s. We are in the 70’s building section with big yo-yos covering the stair wells at the end of the buildings and a big flower shaped pool.

After a restful afternoon, we headed out to Downtown Disney for dinner. We decided to try out Wolfgang Pucks Express and each had most wonderful meals. Spanky even got asked for ID when we ordered some beers!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 5 - Wednesday 21st April - EPCOT

Today we headed off to EPCOT. We had the plan to get to the park at opening and hit the main rides early, and then make our way to the smaller rides as the morning wore on.

Well….best laid plans and all that.

By the time we got to EPCOT, Spanky was feeling very very seedy from the bus trip.

We headed off to Ellen’s Energy Adventure, then The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and the Imagination Pavilion.

We enjoyed lunch at Sunshine Seasons where we had a very tasty meal that was healthy and had veggies!

After lunch we made our way around the World Showcase, visiting each country and checking out their shops and attractions. There is a Flower and Garden show on at the moment, so there are lots of extra gardens planted and also characters in flowers.

When we finished the world showcase, we went on Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball thing) and then on a boat voyage called Living with the Land (both these rides we walked onto with no wait, compared to the 30minute wait there was earlier in the day for these). We then headed off to Morocco to have dinner. We enjoyed lamb wraps, our second great meal of the day!

Back to future world and onto Mission: SPACE. We went on the mild version first, and then Bubbles went on the intense version of the ride, while Spanky waited outside, not game to upset the tummy again! After the second go, feeling the full g-forces this time, Bubbles decided that just one trip into space was enough for the afternoon.

We headed back to the hotel at about 7pm.

Distance walked today: approx 12km (yes, 12km)

(snow white)

Day 4 - Tuesday 20th April - Hollywood Studios

After another missed alarm morning, we headed off to Disney’s Hollywood studios park at 9am. Our first stop at the park was Toy Story Mania. The ride is in 4D and consists of different arcade style games. Bubbles won the game, making up for the losses on Buzz Lightyear on Sunday.

We stopped off for some breakfast then headed off to Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster. Using single rider line, we got on the ride within 10mins, much better than the posted 40min if we wanted to ride together. We both loved this ride! It’s in the dark, fast with loud Aerosmith music.

Next up was the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. Then Star Wars simulator, good but both of us felt a little seedy after it.

We enjoyed lunch at Sci-Fi Dine In. At this restaurant your table is set up like a car in a Drive In movie and you watch old horror movies. The food was pretty good. We shared some onion rings which we thought were excellent.

Back outside, we did Muppets 3D, the Backlot tour and Stunt show.

With Spanky falling asleep at all of these, and Bubbles struggling as well, we decided to have one last go on Toy Story Mania (using the fast passes we had got earlier in the morning) which Bubbles won again, then headed back to the hotel. We had planned to wait for the 830pm Fantasmic night show, but as it was another 3 more hours away, we made the decision to skip it and have an early night.

Distance walked today: approx 6km.

Day 3 - Monday 19th April

Up late after a sleep in till 930am. We got ourselves ready for the day and headed out to breakfast, an interesting event as all we normally eat is toast and we could find everything but toast to eat.

We had decided to go to Blizzard Beach today. We were having great luck with the transport buses, we haven’t had to wait any longer than 5minutes so far.

It was overcast and about 22deg when we got to the water park, but we still braved it.
We started with some tube and toboggan rides, then had a relax in the lazy river that does a loop around the park. The sun broke through the clouds at this time, which was good, as it was starting to feel like a Sunday morning swim at Greensborough pool.

Back on the slides for a couple more goes, then a rest on the chairs near the beach.
By 1pm we had both had enough, and headed back to the resort. We stopped at the resort pool for a little rest and read some book.

At 3pm we felt ourselves ready for some more walking….so went off to Downtown Disney to check out the shops and restaurants on offer. Spanky had a great time in the Lego store, but Bubbles wouldn’t buy her the Massive Star Wars Death Star or the pirates flag ship.

It then started raining…and pouring! It went on for about 30min. After waiting in the rainforest cafĂ© gift shop, we decided to make a run for it. Bubbles found all the puddles leaving him with very wet shoes and socks, but just as we got to the next area with shops it stopped raining. Always the way.

After checking out all the shops and wandering around, we took a bus to the Contempary Resort, located near the Magic Kingdom.

We had a dinner booking at Chef Mickey’s at 730pm. As we where an hour early, we got on the monorail that runs through the hotel. We checked out the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts on the monorail loop.

Back at the Contempary resort, we checked in for dinner and were shortly seated. This dinner was a buffet dinner, with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto visiting tables for a ‘chat’ and a photo. The food was nice for a buffet, with both of us feeling very full at the end of it.

We walked over to the Magic Kingdom to catch the bus back to the Pop resort and were back at about 930pm, very tired and very full.

Distance walked today: approx 6km

Day 2 - Sunday 18th April - Magic Kingdom

28 hours after leaving Melbourne Airport, Bubbles and Spanky arrived in Orlando Airport.

At 5.20am local time (7.20pm Sunday arvo Melbourne time).

Strangely, the airport was pretty empty! We picked up our bags and where at the Disney Magic Express bus 20minutes after landing. Straight onto a bus and we where on our way to Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World.

We arrived at the resort at 630am, but couldn’t check in till 7am. After we checked in, we got our selves ready for the day ahead, had some food, and then headed off to Magic Kingdom.
We got to Magic Kingdome at 830am, watched the Opening Ceremony (Bubbles remembered that he is not a fan of crowds and people bumping up against him), then went through the gates and up Main St to Tomorrow Land.

We jumped into the line for Space Mountain and less than 10mintues later we had done our first ride. We then did all the other rides in Tomorrow Land (Astro Orbitor, Buzz Lightyear & Stitch’s great escape). Spanky beat Bubbles on the Buzz ride, which he wasn’t too happy about.
We made our way over to the good old classic Mad Hatters Tea Party ride. After the spinning, and spinning and spinning we got off the ride and did a nice easy kiddies ride in Goofy’s Barnstormer. Which lasted less than 1mintue, not a problem but we waited 4mintues to get on the ride.

We then went off and had lunch, even though it was only 11am as we got a discount if we eat before 1130am so Bubbles ever the bargain hunter suggested we eat before 1130am.
Off to the not so scary Haunted Mansion, The Hall of Presidents and Tom Sawyers Island. We found the park to be filling up and we were getting pretty tired, so after going on the Pirates ride and Swiss Family Robinson Tree house we headed out of the park and back to Pop Century Resort to go find our room and have a nap.

Once we woke up from our nana nap we returned to the park at 6pm. While we where napping, it had started drizzling, our problem with this was that we still didn’t have our suitcases yet and so we didn’t have rain jackets, not so much a problem while it was drizzling, but later it would be a problem.

Back at Magic Kingdom, we ran to catch the train that runs around the park. Earlier in the day there had been a 40mintue wait on the Jungle Cruise, but we saw there was only a 5minute one now so headed for that. It was a funny cruise through different jungles, with Uncle Pete/Dad jokes.

As we were already wet, we did Splash Mountain, with Spanky getting a lot more wet, due mainly to the kid in front of her ducking when we hit the bottom of the big splash drop. We had dinner after we did It’s a Small World, then got out of the rain on the Golden Carrousel (Bubbles made sure he got one of the big Stallions rather than the little kiddies horses).

Now very wet from the constant rain and cold from being in shorts (and Bubbles also without a jumper) we found a spot (still out in the rain) to watch Spectromagic, a light parade. It was a fantastic parade. Following the parade we moved into the shops to get warm and try to get dry, well as dry and warm as you can get in an air-conditioned shop.

Back outside into the rain, we watched Wishes, a fireworks show over the Cinderella castle. It was very good, although we knew that Tinkerbelle was meant to ‘fly’ over the crowd, but didn’t. Who knew that the rain was fine for us but not for her?

Lots of people were making their way out of the park after Wishes (it was about 1030pm), so we made our way quickly over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We went on this ride twice without waiting, and the only reason we didn’t go again as because we felt our tummies weren’t going to handle another ride right away (Spanky’s mainly).

For something a little tamer, we went on Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow Whites Scary Adventures and The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh. There was no wait for any of these rides, probably because lots of the little kiddies had left the park.

We were getting pretty tired and had done almost all the rides in the park, so we headed back to Tomorrow Land to repeat the rides we had done there this morning. Spanky beat Bubbles twice more on the Buzz ride, again he was not happy.

We left the park at 130am, we were pretty happy with that as we had seen everything we wanted to and a whole lot of stuff we didn’t think we would ride, and had lasted past 1am!

Distance walked today: approx 10.75km

Day 1 (Saturday 17th April - Travel Day)

So, Today is the day and we are off on our way!
The morning really started when the clock past midnight on Friday when we were still up organizing things. Then after a few hours in the bed it was back up and going.
Our chauffeurs arrived in the form of Spankys parents (The president and first lady) who took us to Melbourne airport, had some traditional Pre-flight McDonalds and then escorted us to the gate to make sure we got on the right flight.
The hour and 10 mins to Sydney was quick and easy. We arrived at the international transfer lounge in time to walk out the door again and off to our second flight of the trip.
TRIVIA: It is 12200 kilometers from Sydney to L.A.
Through immigration we went and to all those people who thought that Bubbles was an international master criminal you were right. He still managed to get through and we boarded the flight.
The 12hr flight was pretty good and the time never seemed to stand still. The personal entertainment systems were great and really made the trip go quickly. The food was quite tasty, but the beef strog was not as good as Spanky’s. We were joined on our flight by “Team Australia”, heading off to the world Cheerleading and dance championships.
Spanky didn’t fair too well with the continuous turbulence that we had for a few hours on the flight, but once her feet hit sold ground, she perked up and was hungry for some grease and salt in the form of a burger.
We arrived in LA at 430pm on Saturday, over half an hour early. We had to wait at the airport for over five hours before we could depart for Orlando.
Much to our delight those cheerleaders and dancers from the long hurl flight joined us on the cross country trip to Orlando. So that they could compete at none other than the first stop on our trip, Disney World.
Our flight to Orlando left on time at 1010pm. Both Bubbles and Spanky were very very tired and fell asleep shortly after takeoff.

Monday, April 12, 2010

And the next countdown begins!!

Only 5 more sleeps to go til we go away. Bubbles now feels not so bad that he is counting down to the Holiday rather than to the wedding!
We had a most amazing day on Saturday, and thank everyone who was there with us on the day. We followed peoples advice and made sure that we took time for ourselves to enjoy the day.
We have already started getting photos back from people which is great and so are the photos, keep them comming!!