Orlando, Home of Everything Disney!

Trip Start Mar 24, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Green Tree Resort

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, May 13, 2011

Jenna's Mum had done another incredible job of sourcing fantastic accommodation which we happily discovered when we drove into Orlando.  The drive was pretty standard except for our quick stop in West Palm Beach.  This place was literally out of this world.  The houses along the beach were more like castles, with Bentleys, Rols Royces and other luxury cars parked in every drive way.  They also had their own private gated section of beach in front of their house with beautiful permanent cabanas their.  It was an example of people with so much money you just couldn't fathom it.

We were staying at the Green Tree Resort near Disney World in a self contained, two bedroom apartment.  The resort had three pools and provided a free shuttle service to all the Disney parks.  It was close to loads of restaurants, supermarkets and shops, brilliant.  On our first night in Orlando, we hit up Black Angus Steakhouse.  The steaks and ribs were out of this world and so cheap!!  We also hit up the biggest bottle shop ever ABC Liquor and could not believe how cheap the booze was!! We got a carton of beer, plus a six pack of beer and two bottles of new Zealand sav blanc for the same price as one carton of Tooheys in Perth!!

Sunday was our first theme park day and we chose Animal Kingdom.  This theme park was divided into sections all themes after a different jungle style country and included a real safari section and a gnarly rollercoasters ride in Mount Everest.  It was a long, crowded and hot day but you can't help but enjoy yourself acting like a kid all day long!  As it was Mothers Day, we headed to Down Town Disney, a whole waterside outdoor village with shops, restaurants, bars, games, entertainment and rides.  After wandering around people watching we stopped for dinner in a Blues Southern themed restaurant.  By the time we got home, we were all absolutely exhausted but prepared to do it all over again the next day!

Monday meant Magic Kingdom, the most Disney themed of all the parks.  It was filled with characters from all your favourite children cartoons, and was centred around the Magic Castle which was sooo pretty.  There were parades, rides and restaurants to keep you busy and ended with an incredible light show on the castle, followed by a fire works show over it.  We cheated a little and left the park for dinner (at a near by Disney Hotel) which was such a good idea as it was cool, not crowded and we all needed a drink by then!  But it was no problem to head back in for the finale shows - with another 10,000 people (and this happens every night all year round)!  Again, we all fell into bed exhausted but ready for our last theme park day the next day!

Our last theme park was Universal Studios' Paradise Island.  This was home to the newly opened (august 2010) Harry Potter section.  We knew this would be the busiest so it was our first stop of the day.  It was incredible, the whole area was like being in the book, from the buildings, food and drink (they sell Butterbeer) and the rides.  It holds a crazy roller coaster and then the most famous ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  The line (about an hour long) goes all through Hogwarts and the special effects are brilliant.  We won't spoil the ride for you, but it was the best ride we have a ever been on and we did it twice!!  The rest of the day was spent going on the craziest, hair raising rides ever (two or three times each)!  By the end of the day we were a exhausted from the adrenaline!  Not to mention getting completely soaked from head to toe in two different rides!  We had dinner at Bubba Shrimp (after Forrest Gump) in City Walk - similar to Down Town Disney but for Universal Studios and rolled into bed, so proud of ourselves for completing three days of theme parks but looking forward to a break the next day!!!

After a well deserved sleep in, we were off to International Drive, home to two outlet malls, numerous shops and restaurants, mini golf parks and non-Disney theme parks!  Not to mention another hundred or so resorts and hotels!  Our first stop was the outlet mall, and it was cheap- really cheap!  All the best brands at low prices (with a bit of hunting) Steve and Jenna's Dad got a bit bored until we jumped on the trolly and traveled to the golf outlet - complete with practice  putting green!  After that it was back on the trolly down to Eat at Joe's, a famous restaurant that sells massive pots of steamed seafood with various flavours and selections and encourages you to eat with your hands!!  Once again we had ginormous servings and at least three times during our dinner the wait staff danced, fully choreographed, in the middle of the restaurant!  Another hilarious American eating experience!

On our last day in Orlando we headed back to International Drive for a bit more shopping and a game of mini golf on a course that had alligators and turtles hmmm.  They do say that proper golfers usually fail miserably at mini golf, proven by the fact that Steve won and Jenna's Dad came last.... The 35 degree heat didn't help but it was an awesome course and we did have a lot of fun!  That night we had decided to leave Orlando with a tacky, big bang by heading to one of the many themed restaurants that Orlando has to offer.  We chose the pirate one and it didn't let us down.  It was loud, tacky, entertaining and Jenna even got pulled out of the crown to help with a treasure hunt!!  The food was awful and the free alcohol watered down but the whole experience was a perfect end to a very surreal Orlando experience!

Today we are flying to NYC and with Jenna and her Mum already booking in some sights and lovely sounding restaurants, it looks to be a great last four days all together!
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