Tag: Trip reports

Disneyland Resort: The place that started it all still has a magic all its own

Disneyland Park - October 2014.

Orlando really is the world’s most exciting, family-friendly destination. But Orlando would not be the amazing vacation kingdom it is without the original theme park in Anaheim, California: Disneyland Park. Although I have all of Orlando’s theme parks in my backyard, I make an annual journey across the country to Southern California. I’d like to share with you why I do, and what makes the place that started it all so awe-inspiring.   Simply charming Let’s start off with Walt Disney … [Read more...]

Busch Gardens Tampa trip report – October 2014 (Cheetah Lure Run amazes, Howl-O-Scream tantalizes, and Falcon’s Fury gets even better)

Busch Gardens Tampa - October 2014.

With the beautiful weather on Sunday, October 19, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Busch Gardens Tampa, even though we weren't sure how the Howl-O-Scream event that evening was going to affect crowd levels (it turns out it didn't!). As we entered the park, we were surprised to find construction. Several of the shops right at the entrance (including Village Snacks and Sahara Trading Company) have closed and are currently undergoing renovation. There are no signs announcing what's to … [Read more...]

Disney’s Animal Kingdom trip report – October 2014 (park-wide construction, new animal exhibits, and the reopened Lion King show)

Animal Kingdom - October 2014.

This past weekend, my family and I visited Disney's Animal Kingdom. The weather was wonderful, with highs in the mid-80s, and the crowd levels were moderate. It made for a beautiful and enjoyable day at the park. Arriving in the parking lot, we noticed parts of the Giraffe section were closed, which is due to the construction of a new parking lot rumored to be titled Yeti. We were directed to park our car in the RV/bus section, which advantageously placed us within walking distance of Animal … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – October 2014 (Skull Island rises, the heat wave broils, and Marvel’s superheroes assemble)


My family and I spent another beautiful Sunday this month at Universal Orlando, this time at Islands of Adventure. Knowing that Halloween Horror Nights was scheduled for that evening, we were fully prepared for the moderate crowd levels and wait times that we encountered at the park (unlike last time, when the annual Halloween event through us for a loop). After walking through the lively CityWalk area, we proceeded through the turnstiles of IOA and were immediately transitioned into the … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – October 2014 (HHN props, weekend crowds, and beautiful weather)

Universal Studios Florida - October 2014.

On a beautiful, sunny afternoon this past weekend, my family and I visited Universal Studios Florida. Touring the park is always fun for us, and this trip was no exception. We arrived in the late morning, and since USF was closing at 5:00pm for Halloween Horror Nights, we drafted a plan to get the most out of our shortened day. Banners promoting the event's haunted houses hung at the entrance, and HHN props were strewn throughout the park (don't worry - they're nothing that would scare young … [Read more...]

Epcot trip report – September 2014 (saying farewell to Maelstrom and a sampling of this year’s Food & Wine Festival)


My family and I visited Walt Disney World’s Epcot on a beautiful sunny afternoon this past weekend. The trip promised to be bittersweet, as I looked forward to smaller crowds and sampling some unique culinary treats at the International Food & Wine Festival, on the one hand, but I also had to say goodbye to some Epcot favorites, on the other. A highlight of my visit this month was riding more attractions in a shorter time span due to the low wait times (Spaceship Earth was at just 10 … [Read more...]

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – September 2014 (new free wifi, Clyde and Seamore refurb, dolphin training, and more)

SeaWorld Orlando - September 2014.

Plans to visit SeaWorld this past Saturday were almost derailed by the constant rain in the Orlando area. However, we decided that the rain would also bring a drastic reduction in crowd levels – and a little water wouldn’t hurt us anyway, right? So after stopping at the Walgreens just down the street from SeaWorld for ponchos ($3.99 each, and they were surprisingly durable), we headed off on our wet adventure. As we entered the park, we found the crowd levels as we expected – the lowest … [Read more...]

Islands of Adventure trip report – September 2014 (shorter wait times, King Kong’s progress, and a “thank you” to Team Members)

Islands of Adventure trip report - September 2014.

It has been three months since my entire family visited Islands of Adventure together, so we were excited about spending a beautiful day at the park last Saturday. The lower summer crowd levels and wait times and the slight temperature drop spurred us on our adventures at the park. Arriving at IOA around lunchtime, we decided to head to the shaded umbrella tables next to the Green Eggs and Ham quick-service restaurant in Seuss Landing. Although it wasn't open this trip, we still ate our … [Read more...]

Universal Studios Florida trip report – September 2014 (Fall crowds, HHN prep, more Diagon Alley, and The Boxtrolls)

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I headed to Universal Studios Florida this past Saturday for this month's trip report. Since I was visiting the park by myself, I was determined and eager to take my time enjoying the park's attractions on my own schedule. Arriving mid-morning, the sign for Universal's Christian music festival, Rock the Universe, was hanging from the arched entrance to USF. All of the entry turnstiles were open and busy, but the lines moved quickly. I was pleased with the moderate crowd levels, and the … [Read more...]

Visiting Diagon Alley for the first time: A truly spellbinding experience

Visiting Diagon Alley for the first time again.

It has been nearly two months since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley’s enchanted brick wall first opened for the world to experience. I often find myself craving a weekend visit as I muddle through the work week. So when the last-minute opportunity to visit with someone who hadn’t been to either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade popped up, I had to jump at the chance. As someone who has now clocked over 15 journeys to Diagon Alley since its soft opening days, it was magical to see … [Read more...]

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