Tag: Trip reports

Disney’s Animal Kingdom trip report – April 2014 (FastPass+ progress, World of Avatar construction & best tips for touring)


For this month's Walt Disney World trip report, I spent a “wild” day at Animal Kingdom this past weekend. The weather was beautiful, with temperatures in the low 80s, a calming breeze, and plenty of sunshine. Upon entering the park this visit, I noticed the FastPass+ kiosk lines were dramatically shorter than my visit in January. This is most likely because Annual Passholders and guests not staying at a Disney resort can now make FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. Also, … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – April 2014 (Hogsmeade Station looking good, Zonko’s looking sad & a heart-warming Seuss story)

Islands of Adventure - April 2014.

This past weekend we visited Islands of Adventure, and it turned out to be one of those days where everything was fantastic! I enjoy sharing my IOA experiences each month with Orlando Informer readers. I am always anxious to see and photograph the ongoing progress with the construction of Hogsmeade Station for the new Hogwarts Express attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. This trip, the walkway between Lost Continent and the Wizarding World was open … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – April 2014 (CityWalk & Diagon Alley construction, parking fee increase & inside Curious George Goes to Town)

Universal Studios Florida - April 2014.

Wouldn’t you agree that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Universal Studios Florida is a great way to spend a spring day? I just did that, and I’m delighted to pass along the latest details from USF and my trip.   Universal parking garage and CityWalk changes Given the recent Orlando theme park price increases, it isn't that surprising that Universal Orlando has increased its parking rates. As I arrived at Universal's parking deck, I noticed that cars and motorcycles are … [Read more...]

SeaWorld trip report – March 2014 (Sea of Surprises construction, Pets Ahoy, restaurant reviews, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls & Just for Kids Festival)

SeaWorld - March 2014.

As we arrived at SeaWorld this past weekend, we could tell they had done a lot of renovations for the 50th anniversary celebration that starts Friday, March 21 (we'll have a separate report on the opening next week!). The statue welcoming guests into the parking area has a new banner around the bottom, and once we arrived at the gate, the improvements continued. The signature lighthouse at the entrance was covered in a thin wrapping. While it doesn’t show in pictures, in person you could … [Read more...]

Epcot trip report – March 2014 (more FastPass+ benefits & problems, Flower & Garden Festival in full bloom)

Epcot trip report – March 2014.

Have you ever partaken in the beauty of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival? Have you navigated the new, although very limiting, tiered FastPass+ system at Epcot and used its reservation system from the convenience of your own home? I experienced all of these elements and more this past weekend as I toured Epcot for our March trip report. Because we stayed at a Disney resort a couple of weeks ago, my family and I now have MagicBands connected to our Walt Disney World … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – March 2014 (Harry Potter construction woes, Me Ship the Olive + CityWalk’s new Starbucks & Cold Stone)


On Sunday, I visited Islands of Adventure (IOA) at Universal Orlando and spent a beautiful spring day walking around the park. But before I entered through the IOA turnstiles, I took a quick stroll around Universal CityWalk to see how its developments are going.   Universal CityWalk construction Right away, I noticed that the construction walls have been removed from both Starbucks' new location and the all-new Cold Stone Creamery. The new Starbucks has signage, and its outdoor seating … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – March 2014 (price increases, Mardi Gras, Beetlejuice & Horror Makeup Show)

Universal Studios Florida – March 2014.

Editor's note: 2014 price increase Last Wednesday, Universal raised its prices uncharacteristically early, mostly to answer Disney's rate hike from the weekend before. And while the price increase was instituted at the gates right away, Universal Orlando's website was left at 2013 pricing for some inexplicable reason – until now. As of today, here are the new online prices: 1-Day Single-Park – was $92.00, now $96.00 2-Day Single-Park – was $125.99, now $135.99 3-Day Single-Park … [Read more...]

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014 (more FastPass+ observations & problems, Beauty and the Beast)


My family and I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) on a pleasant day with temperatures in the low 70s – perfect for visiting one of Orlando’s theme parks. We had not visited DHS since the new FastPass+ system was implemented for all guests. Last month, we used the new system at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, and I reported on our experience, including some helpful tips. Because we do not have MagicBands, we needed to make our FP+ reservations at a kiosk located … [Read more...]

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – February 2014 (Bands, Brew & BBQ, Larry the Cable Guy, Shamu Up Close)


When SeaWorld announced that Larry the Cable Guy would be the headline event at Bands, Brew & BBQ this past Sunday, we knew we had to go see him. So we all piled into the car with shouts of “get ‘er done” and drove down for a day in the park. We got there early enough that the crowds had yet to arrive, so we hurried over to Antarctica before a line formed. The sign informed us of a 15-minute wait, but there was no wait at all – I’ve never seen Antarctica this empty … [Read more...]

Busch Gardens Tampa trip report – February 2014 (Bands, Brew & BBQ, Falcon’s Fury construction & Rhino Rally reopening)

Busch Gardens Tampa – February 2014.

This past weekend was the start of Bands, Brew & BBQ at Busch Gardens. With the chance to drink unlimited beer, I grabbed my husband and the family, and off we went to enjoy a day at the park. We arrived five minutes after the park opened and found very little crowds. We all decided Cheetah Hunt needed to be the very first stop before the wait time got too long. What a smart move that was – a zero-minute wait time was posted, and we could have literally walked right onto the coaster, … [Read more...]

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