Saturday, 5 January 2013

Eastern Exploration 1: Orlando

We ended a 23 days tour in the Eastern part of US. Holiday gets really draggy when its too long. Yet a rare opportunity to do such an extended getaway. Our first stop was Orlando, followed by a flight to Washington DC, then we drove to Philadelphia, Buffalo, Niagara Fall Canada, Woodbury and the final destination, New York City. 

Jotting down some highlights of our everyday fun and traveling experiences. If you plan to visit the mentioned places for holiday fun, I'll be more than happy to share more of our encounters. I'm just an email away.

Orlando
We visited Disney World, the world with 4 amazing theme parks! After which we also visited Universal Studios.

13 Dec - Arrived at Orlando International Airport. Our Disney magical journey began upon arrival. For booking their resort hotel, we had all luggage taken care of. They retrieved and sent them straight to our hotel room. All we did was hop onto their bus to the hotel and took a shuttle to Magic Kingdom for the Christmas parade and party fun.

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Lovely parade

14 Dec - We visited Epcot. A little of the more serious stuff. The realms of future world and showcase of cultures and cuisines of 11 countries. We regret not pre-booking our dinner in one of the restaurants, which turned walk in guests away.

It was fun and interesting to explore around, something different from the magical world.  

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Epcot
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Little Paris in Epcot
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Love this Mexican hat!

15 Dec - Enchanted our way into Magic Kingdom. The land where dreams come true. It was really crowded on the day we visited. Long wait time to almost any rides. And we know how torturing it was to wait in line with 2 little ones. Moment like did make me feel like dreams ain't coming true in Disney. 

With some fast passes, we did rides, watched parades and greeted some characters. Glad to still walk away with some magical fun.

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With Cinderella
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Awesome night view of the castle
16 Dec - Had wild animal fun in Animal Kingdom. A zoo experience by the African safari way. We saw how free roaming the wild animals were, by not being caged up. 

It was also where we had a delightful buffet lunch with the Disney characters at Tusker House Restaurant. Buffet, where there's no beginning and ending to food. We didn't spend too much time with food because of the many explorations to venture into. Nonetheless, the food was good tasting and of great spread. American and African food offered. Yums!

Don't forget to catch The Lion King musical. It was was really good!

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We had a wild time!
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Characters dining
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Zebras in the wild



17 Dec - Rise and shine early for breakfast with Disney Junior characters at Hollywood Studios. Jazz's loves are Jake from Never land pirate and Agent Oso. I preferred this character dining than the one we had in Animal Kingdom. This was more interactive and entertaining. Although the kids were much distracted by the characters for a proper breakfast, I closed both eyes to their fidgety bums. 


I specially liked the American Idol experience where we felt as if we were in for a live show. Three guests emerged after rounds of auditions. They sang and only the highest voted entered into finale, the final one winner gets a fast pass to beat the line for the true American Idol audition. Some artistes like Kelly Clarkson emerged from here. Interesting know.  

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With Jake!
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Give me your vote!
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Love the Beauty and the beast musical
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The night highlight - Fantasmic
Dedicating 4 full days of fun time to the 4 theme parks is fairly sufficient. If you've more time and energy, definitely worth allocating more time to perhaps Magic Kingdom. We didn't manage to conquer the whole of each theme park as we began our everyday near noon. But well, we ended our nights real late too. We spent extra hours in the parks that have extended hours, like till 1 am! Some rides during extended park hours are for their resorts hotel guests only (present hotel card). It was really convenient to stay in their hotels, considering the much benefits they offer. Convenience too!

We also brought along an autograph book for Js to present to the characters for signature. It was all too fun and you could even snap more pictures while they are signing away.

18 Dec and 19 Dec - We checked out of Disney hotel to a hotel near Universal Studio. We went there by cab, so I guess it isn't necessary to rent a car unless you plan to go elsewhere. Universal Studios Orlando has 2 parks - Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

At the parks, the kids met Cat in the Hat, Dora and friends as well as Barney! It was good fun for them. There were some rides that they could get on too, though Jazz qualified for more rides. Always a heartache to break news to Jare that he can't hop onto the looking oh so fun ride.

Comparing Orlando and LA's Universal, Orlando's has more fun and rides for younger kids. More kiddy shows too. However, the studio tour in LA is not in sited Orlando, which is a must tour when you visit Universal in LA.

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Cat in the Hat
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Dora!
This summarized our first 7 days of holiday fun. After Orlando, we took an hour of flight to Washington DC... Next post coming up.

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