Disney World and Universal Studios quite fittingly started off our American road trip. The amount of revue in tourism these parks bring in to the States is incredible. After spending seven days there I can see why and it’s well worth a visit to the US just to experience these parks.
Morgan and I started off our week at Universal Studios.
What a day! I think we got a little caught up in the whole theme park food experience as much as we did with the rides. We began our day arriving at lunch time (after signing the deal on our motor home that morning) by enjoying a hot dog from the hot dog stand. No time for stopping to eat, we ate these on the run as we headed straight for Shrek 4-D. I had been to Universal the year before with the Odessa crew but it was all new for Morgs. It was great knowing what was coming up and to see his reaction. Shrek-4D is great. I never get tired of that show. Twister and the Simpson ride were also unreal but the real stand out for the day and across all the theme parks was The Mummy Ride.
This ride is the coolest ever! It’s a rollar coaster, experienced most of the time in the dark. It involves fire, mist and amazing light affects which makes it entertaining, thrilling and just so much damn fun! Definite highlight of the day. During all this running around we worked up quite an appetite and had no choice but to snack on cheap and nasty theme park food. (Ok so not so cheap and disgustingly tasty!) Morgan enjoyed his first ever turkey leg, as you can see in the pictures. He didn’t quite manage to finish the whole thing but he gave it a good shot. I tried my first churros and it was sinfully delicious! For those of you who don’t know what a churros is, it’s basically a Spanish doughnut shaped like a stick, with a star cross section. It’s a lot more crisper then a normal doughnut and I might add, tastier too.
Our second day took us to Hollywood Studios in Disney World. Here I got to see Morgan’s face as we entered The Tower of Terror. The tower of terror takes you into the Hollywood Hotel where a guide meets you and explains that you are going to be transported into the twilight zone. You get put in an elevator that has rows of seats and you sit down and begin the ride. The elevator door closes and you go up a few levels where the door opens to show you a hallway in the old hotel now occupied by ghostly figures. You continue up a few more levels and you are told you are now being transported into the twilight zone. It all appears rather relaxed and easy as the lights black out and you continue to travel up a few levels in the elevator. Then at a random moment you are dropped 13 stories at random intervals mostly in complete darkness. I knew it was coming as I had been on this ride before with my Mum and Brother. Mum almost took my fingers off from squeezing them so tightly. I was looking forward to seeing Morgans face and it was as good as I expected. The sheer surprise and shock as we dropped the first time and then as he caught his breath to talk to me thinking it was all over it dropped again. The look on his face was priceless. As far as shock factor this ride just about out does them all in my opinion.
Also in Hollywood Studios is Aerosmiths Rock 'n’ Roller Coaster. This coaster is in the dark too and screams along to Aerosmith music. The coolest thing about this one is the amount of loops, upside down, corners and turns it takes and the length of the ride. It’s also one ride I could do over and over again. As for nightly firework parades this one was amazing! Fantasmic used lasers, lights, water, dancing and performers to stage it’s show and involved lots of Disney characters. It was our first Disney show and we loved it.
The next day we went to Magic Kingdom in Disney World. This park would have been well worth the visit even without the rides. You get a real feel for Disney World in this park. The staff and characters that walk the streets are very animated, have massive smiles and always greet you when you pass them by. The street parades are spectacular and there is just a real magic in the air.
Hard to explain but we were excited just being there so I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a child coming to the Magic Kingdom for the first time. We also took ourselves on a few of the kids rides here and didn’t feel silly at all. The Peter Pan and Winnie the Poo kiddie rides were great. As for the grown up rides you can’t go past Space Mountain. If you want to fly through space at an exhilarating speed then this is the ride for you. I never tire of it. Morgan and I have been on Space Mountain in Disneyland Paris and this one at Disney world is much better. It’s longer, faster and you feel more submerged in the space atmosphere they are trying to create. The other thing worth a mention is Mikeys’s PhilarMagic Show. Morgan and I really enjoyed this 3D show. We thought it was better then Shrek even. Of course no park is complete without a haunted mansion. The ballroom is the best in this ride. The ghostly figures sitting at the table are so animated and spooky and the attention to detail is incredible.
The next couple of days we did Animal Kingdom and Epcot. I can tell you now, we were loving every minute at the parks but when we got back to the hotel at night we would just crash out. It sure does take it out of you. Plus there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get to see everything you want. Poor Morgan hurt his foot after a few days. It was just a provoked old wound so he could barely walk on it after a few days so we ended up having to hire a wheel chair for him. He spent two days wheeling himself with my assistance around the park. It was great for getting a head of the queues! ;)
Epcot was great but it rained all day the first time we went there, which really put a damper on things. We spent most of our time in the Future World section of the park. Soarin was definitely the highlight of this park. You really felt like you were hang gliding over California..!! Morgan and I went on another ride there called Mission: SPACE. It’s a g force simulator which blasts you into space. You get to experience what the astronauts do on take off. I was a little bit concerned about this one as I remember my cousin Kylie telling me that Paul went on a space ride and it made him so sick. As we got closer to boarding the ride I could see that if was a very enclosed small space and they locked you in and pushed a screen right up to your face and there were signs every where saying if you don’t like spinning or are claustrophobic then you should think twice about boarding this ride. Two men next to us read that sign and opted out. I was getting more nervous by the minute. I told Morgan that I was not sure about how my stomach would handle the whole spinning thing. I was also concerned about getting claustrophobic in that small space. He told me not to worry, that I was talking myself into a state and just to relax and enjoy it. So I sucked it up and stepped aboard. Well my god, what a ride! You could feel the pressure against your whole body as it simulated travel through space. The feeling wasn’t pleasant but it was exhilarating! I was glad Morgan talked me into doing it and apart from feeling a little light headed when I walked away from the ride, I was fine. Morgan on the other hand, he was as white as a ghost! Poor bugger didn’t feel so good! We took it easy for a while after that one. :) One more thing worth a mention in Future World is the Turtle Talk With Crush, were you can talk to Crush from Finding Nemo. The guy providing the voice of crush was very witty and funny and it was so cute watching the kids ask crush questions.
In the late afternoon we headed over to the other side of Epcot called World Showcase and strolled around there until dark. We had been for a lovely lunch here earlier at the Chinese restaurant and shared a bottle of wine. The food was gorgeous…!!
The park is divided into different sections each representing different countries starting with Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morroco, France, UK and Canada.
Mexico being our first stop sold lovely frozen margaitas so we did most of our walking with these in hand. The fire work show was held at 9pm over a large lake in the middle of the park. A huge ball lit up with the world map and moved across the body of water and was met with a massive firework display and music. They sure know how to put on a show here in Disney!
Animal Kingdom was our least favourite park but was still worth the visit. The Kilimanjaro Safari around the Animal Kingdom reserve was fantastic.
The Dinosaur ride and the Expedition Everest rides were very cool. I actually got a little fright from the Dinosaur at the end. Barely ever happens that I get frighten, being such a seasoned rider! ;) The Finding Nemo musical was very worth seeing also. They merge puppetry and live performance and it made for a very colourful and entertaining show!
We still had Islands of Adventure in Universal Studios to go too and one more day left to re-visit a Disney theme park we wanted but we had to be back in Fort Lauderdale for Morgan to sit his final exam. So we decided to wait until after his exam and then on our way back up north we would stay a couple of nights and finish it all off then. So on our last day in Orlando we packed up our stuff and left it at the hotel lobby and went to pay for and collect our new home. We did all the paper work and proudly took hold of the keys and drove our new home back to Fort Lauderdale. It was a 4-hour drive back so we didn’t arrive until 12:45am. Poor Morgs was pretty knackered but we had plenty of time to do some study revision on the way back. Morgan sat his exam bright and early the next morning and all he has to do now is sit and wait for the results! Fingers crossed for him, not that he needs it! :)
** When we returned to Universal Studios a week later we had a blast. The Rip It Rock It Roller
Coaster ride was not running when we were here last time so Morgan and I headed straight for it this time. The ride is unique in terms of creating your own individual experience. You get to choose a song you want to ride too. They list four genres of music to pick from including, rock, RnB, pop and country! Then you have a selection of songs in each category. I choose "Pump It" by Black Eyed Peas and Morgan choose 'Sabotage' by Beastie Boys. The ride was awesome. The ride starts with a 90 degree climb to the launcher and then you go directly into a double loop and well the rest was just a blur of adrenaline. It was a fantastic ride, if the line wasn't so long we would have gone back for a second go! When you get off the ride they show you video footage of yourself on the ride. It is absolutely hilarious of course and we couldn't resist buying a copy of it on dvd. However after paying $40 and taking it home and watching it, it was a totally scam. The dvd is purely advertisement for the ride and Universal Studios and nothing else. There are just little snippets of us actually on the ride in there butt he rest is rubbish. Such a disappointment. However this being the first ride to offer video footage, I am sure it will get better as more rides start to offer it too instead of just photos.
After Universal Studios Morgan and I went to Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner. It just had to be done. The atmosphere, waiters, bar and collectables inside the restaurant was fantastic. The food....hmmm very disappointing. All I could taste of my meal was a whole lot of oil. It was swimming in it. Morgans meal was ok but definitely not the best shrimp he has ever had. It was very over priced for the quality of the meals but they did manage to make a mean cocktail though.
We decided our last Disney day would be spent re-visiting Epcot. Last time we went it was raining and miserable and we didn't get to spend a lot of time in the World Showcase section of the park. Morgan was now out of his wheelchair which made it a lot more enjoyable too. We took a stroll around the park and watched many of the shows they had on in each section.
France put on a great show that involved both comedy, mimes and acrobatics! In China the had some young boys performing acrobatic and gymnastic show also.
The kids were adorable and very talented. A young girl showed her speciality by balancing a table on her feet and spinning it around by just using her feet. We loved looking through all of the shops in each section that sold specialty items pertaining to the particular country you were in. Morgan bought a bratwurst with sauerkraut in Germany for lunch. I had cous cous and a kebab in Morocco. We saw some beautiful singers in America and took a boat ride in Mexico. It was daylight outside but when you entered inside the Mayan pyramid in Mexico the lights are out and the whole restaurant area which was surrounded by a lake is lit up only by lamps. It gave you the impression that it was night time and it was very beautiful.
Disney World and Universal certainly didn't fail to please! I would go back there in a heart beat. Next time I'm taking Rylee with me. I'd love to see her reaction to Disney!
Haaa le joyeux monde de Disney! Ici évidemment, y'en a toujours plus. Toute l'agglomération, dépend des parcs: magic kingdom, hollywood studios, Epcot, animal kingdom, downtown disney,