2 July 2015

Throwback Thursday #tbt | Adventures in Orlando 2013 [Part 1]

This time two years ago our family was beginning our trip to Orlando Florida. This was our first trip with my husbands family since getting married back in 2012.
I had been to Orlando once before, when myself and Shane were 18. We had been together a year when I was invited along on the trip and that was also an amazing holiday.

Today, I just wanted to share some snaps and memories of our trip. We had an absolutely amazing time. It was certainly one of the best holidays we have ever been on and we often think about how much we would love to do it all over again.


This was our first stop which as my sister in law kindly put was because "it's Amy's favourite, so we should go there first". We arrived early morning to a crowded park. First stop for me was to town hall to book the new Beauty and the Beast restaurant. As European guests, little did we know there was a 180 day booking window and we made do with the Crystal Palace Winnie the Pooh "Meet and Greet" buffet dinner.

When we arrived at the park, there was a show on the main stage in front of the castle. Shortly after the show ended, we began to explore the park. By this time, the rain had started and we quickly hurried to the indoor rides after grabbing some ponchos and drying off.

Dinner at the Crystal Palace off Main Street USA that evening was not as bad as we thought. We even got a cuddle off Pooh Bear!

The daily parade had been cancelled during our visit due to the excessive rainfall. Knowing we had only one day at the Magic Kingdom, I was pretty upset to be missing it, but as my husband always says "it just means we have to visit again."

After dinner, we went outside and managed to grab an amazing spot for the nighttime fourth of July firework show which was A-MAZ-ING! We did get footage, but shortly after returning home, our hard-drive swallowed it. We are in the process of trying to restore the drive, so if I manage to get the footage - I'll pop a link in here for you.



Our second park was Disney's Hollywood Studios. I really loved this park. I remember being the least interested in this one during our '06 trip but there was so much going on and so much we got to do during this visit.

Again it was a particularly rainy day. I however, could not part with my beloved Disney ears and opted to wear them over my poncho.

One Man's Dream was an interactive tour documenting the legacy of Walt Disney. This was by far one of my favourite parts of the trip. There was a walk through museum and a beautiful movie at the end.

A view of the Muppet Studios Balloon from Tattoine (yep they had a Star Wars themed land!)

One of my favourite rides in Hollywood Studios is the Hollywood Tower Hotel!! They have a great version of this in Disneyland Paris too and I just love the theming of this ride.

Paul and Tom found some matching R2D2 Disney ears. I tried to convince them how cute they looked in them but they didn't buy them in the end. I mean look ..

 One of the great things about Hollywood Studios is the shows that are put on. We went to Voyage of The Little Mermaid during our visit.

Another firm favourite during our trip to Hollywood Studios was the show Fantasmic (which we filmed and yep .. its stuck on our hard drive). We initially planned on leaving early since it is a much smaller park. I however, had never seen the night time show here, and I begged the others to stay to see it with us. After a long day, when everyone was getting cranky we finally sat in the theatre and waited for the show. After the show had ended every single one of our group were raving about how amazing it was and about how glad we all were that we stayed. If you are ever planning on going to Orlando, check out the Fantasmic show! It really is incredible!



Our third park day was spent at Legoland. This was probably the one place we were least excited to visit. But we had kids with us, and it was only fair they got to choose some of the activities too.

Despite our initial hesitation, we actually had a pretty great day. There was so much to see and do. We weren't too big for the rides (which was a plus). We loved the life size and miniature lego garden. We won a minion and Shane and Siobhán picked up some lego sets to take home.



We spent the fourth of July shopping. Yep, lots and lots and lots of shopping. So we didn't take many pictures. We did however go to Downtown Disney that evening for dinner and some Disney shopping, which in hindsight was a horrible idea! We should have known better when it took us almost an hour to find parking!

Nevertheless we luckily managed to get some and booked dinner at the T-Rex Cafe which was almost fully booked when we arrived. We had about a two hour gap to wander around and explore Downtown Disney which was packed beyond belief with people - so that was easier said than done.

 My fourth of July makeup and nails

We had an amazing fourth of July dinner at the T-Rex Cafe



Our next stop was Seaworld. We spent most of our day going on the rollercoasters and exploring the many interactive animal talk throughs. This is a picture from Dolphin Cove where there was an underwater observatory where you could watch the dolphins. Shane took out his GoPro to film them and this little dolphin was so interested in the flashing red light as he was recording. 

That evening we went for dinner at Sharks underwater grill, which I was not very happy about. I am deathly afraid of sharks and we were put right by a window of them swimming around. I enjoyed my meal, but kept my eyes firmly fixed on my plate. 

We ended our day with the Shamu Rocks show. 



We went to Universal Studios on one of the more hotter days, so we were happy that the majority of attractions in this park are indoors. We immediately went on some of our firm favourites including The Mummy, but the highlight for us was to ride the new Transformers ride. The ride was closed when we first appraoched it, but on opening we rushed off to queue. The queue at first didn't seem too long, little did we know that it not only wound around the building but also inside it as well. One tip for theme parks, NEVER BELIEVE THE WAIT TIME. We waited almost 3 hours for a wait time of 1 1/2 hours. Was it worth it? YES!!! It was incredible! It's so surreal sometimes to see how far technology has come. 

I am a massive fan of the Blues Brothers, and there they were driving around the streets of Universal. 

While Shane and the others went off to ride the Rip Ride Rockit, I decided I would go to the "Special FX Makeup Show". The best thing about waiting around for this show was the incredible theatre lobby, which was full to the brim with props and special fx information. I was in heaven.

The newly opened Minion 3D ride was so popular that we could not get a spot in the queue. It was almost if not longer than the queue for Transformers, and we didn't want to make the same mistake twice in one day. So opted to wait outside the gift shop for the little minions to come out for photo ops instead. 


That's it for todays #throwbackthursday guys! I had no idea when I started that it would be this long! Stay tuned next week for some more throwback pictures from our trip to Universals Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove where we trained Dolphins for the day, NASA's Astronaut Hall of Fame, Disney's Animal Kingdom and one of my favourites Busch Gardens (and hopefully some footage too).
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