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  1. #1

    • Diamond In The Rough
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    PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Background
    My wife and I (both mid 30s) are visiting WDW for our 4th time (the first two times we were accompanied by others, but this trip will be the sequel to our 2007 honeymoon jaunt.)
    We travelled at approximately the same time of year in '07 and found it to be the perfect combination of pleasant weather, low crowds and special events.

    This will be our first stay at Pop Century, having stayed at ASM, Sheraton Vistana and POFQ before. We are flying direct to MCO with British Airways from Gatwick (having always flown with Virgin in the past) and have a rental car booked.

    I always enjoy planning WDW trips (and the DLRP ones we've taken in between to sate our Disney thirst) and this one is no different!

    We like to get up early and eat breakfast in the room (just fruit or a yogurt) and make it to the parks for rope-drop wherever possible.
    We then stop for pastries for elevenses and head back to the room after lunch for a swim/nap/shower before heading back out. We also like to explore the resorts and eat at places we haven't tried before.

    So here we go....

    Day 1 - Tues Sept 29th

    Kathryn & I drove to Gatwick from Peterborough on Monday night and stayed in the Yotel at the airport. We decided on Yotel after reading some positive reviews of it and we weren't disappointed!

    Yes it's small, but the room (a deluxe) was perfectly formed and the price (£80) was well worth the piece of mind of being at the airport a full 12 hours in advance. The small amount of contact we had with the staff was all great too.


    Kathryn - all packed and ready to go!


    The Yotel was small but cleverly designed.

    So after a good night's sleep we rose at 8am and checked out an hour and a half later and make our way over to the North Terminal,
    go through security etc and grab a disappointing breakfast at Lloyds No1.

    Then Kathryn realised that she had forgotten her sunglasses - she had a "backup" pair packed in the luggage we'd just checked, but she didn't have her fave ones in her hand luggage.
    We popped into Boots so K could treat herself to some new ones.
    As we're paying, she reaches into her bag to put her purse away and finds the missing shades!

    Boarded the BA flight at 11am and arrived at MCO at 3.15pm local time after an uneventful flight.
    We got through immigration and luggage retrieval pretty quickly and the lady at Avis was very helpful in sorting out our rental car - a Chevy Cobalt.
    So far it's all gone so smoothly that I'm just waiting for something to screw it up, but so far so good!


    Two essentials for any Orlando holiday - a car and refillable mug.

    We drove to Pop Century and were checked in by 5pm- luckily they got my fax with the room request and we are assigned a fourth floor, lake view room in the 70s section (room 6450). We took a few minutes to unpack and freshen up and then go out to explore the resort and pick up those all important refillable mugs.


    Kathryn and The Big Cheese outside our building.


    I think about attempting a kick, but decide against it.


    Look! A Dreamcast! These displays in the lobby are well worth examining.


    The view from our room promised a quiet stay.

    Up next - off to Epcot for the evening and a sampling of the Food & Wine Fest...
    Last edited by PeaJay18; 10-23-2009 at 05:35 AM.


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

  2. #2

    • Diamond In The Rough
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Still Day 1 - Tues Sept 29th

    After a brief nap to help recover from the jet lag, we headed over to Epcot by bus at 6.15.
    (It was fun watching the queue at Pop for the MK bus as it was full of people in costume on their way to MNSSHP)

    We arrived at Epcot and immediately picked up a FP for Test Track before heading over to World Showcase for the main reason for visiting this evening - Food & Wine!

    We purchased a F&W gift card with the wrist strap and loaded it with $30, figuring that it would be enough for tonight at least.
    Then we caught the last boat of the day across the lagoon from Mexico to Germany - something we had never done and a nice way to travel.
    Our first F&W booth was Melbourne where we each had the grilled lamb chop in red wine sauce. One was handed over straight away but we were informed that it was the last one in this batch and we'd have to wait for the other one to be cooked from scratch.
    I did the honourable thing and let Kathryn have it whilst I waited 5mins for mine. Apart from the usual problem of nowhere to eat it (try cutting a chop/steak etc balanced on your lap!), it was very nice indeed.


    It's making me hungry just looking at this pic.

    Next up we made our way over to China, past the Cape Town booth where we had a portion of beef tenderloin with sweet potato between us.
    We queued for a while here as someone in front of us in the line had problems with the dining plan, and when we did get our beef it was a very, very small portion and the sweet potato wasn't very nice at all. Disappointing.


    The China pavilion at night. That thing in the bottom left is a puppet.

    We stopped at the Shanghai booth and shared a portion of Chicken Ürümqi. It was delicious.

    Next up we ducked into the Mexico pavilion for a quick look at the new tequila bar (packed) and a ride of the Grand Fiesta Tour. This ride was the busiest I've ever seen it - still a walk on, but each boat was going out full.
    The old couple in front of us ignored the CM who assigned them a row and then proceed to take flash photos all the way through the ride!

    I know GFT isn't the greatest attraction in the world, but it was bound to be someone's first experience and they don't need it spoiling by your flash, thanks!

    Then it was over to Test Track to use our FPs. In the pre-show room, a chap who looked exactly like Kenny Powers from Eastbound & Down and his friend chanted along with the pre-show video. Now I get that some people are die-hard Disney fans (heck, I'm one) but keep it in check!
    Again, it ruins it for someone else if they can't hear the vid over your voice.
    As the doors opened to let us into the loading area, I grabbed K and suggested that we hang back so we didn't end up riding with them, but as we boarded there was a call for a party of 2 and wouldn't you know, we ended up riding with them anyway.

    So, with Kenny and his friend a-whooping and a-hollering throughout the ride we raced around TT. It's one of my favorites simply because there is nothing else like it (until Cars Land opens, at least).
    For the first time I noticed that not all the TT cars are yellow - a few are red and even blue. We've only ever ridden in yellow. I'm sure there's no difference, but it was to be yellow cars for the rest of our trip.


    Spaceship Earth looks great at night.

    By now it's about half nine (we skipped watching Illuminations) and the so we saunter through Mousegear to let the crowds make their way out.
    We made a point to pick up a new Test Track aerial topper as you can't get them outside of Epcot, I believe.



    And then it's off to the bus stop (Epcot is the only park where I felt that the Pop bus stop was a very long walk away) Standing room only on the bus but at least we can hear the range of "classic" tunes they play to illustrate the Pop Century resort. This leads to much discussion as to whether the Village People are British or American - turns out I'm right.


    Yours truly ready to head "home" after a long day.

    Coming up next - Studios by night and day, and dinner at the Beach Club.
    Last edited by PeaJay18; 10-23-2009 at 05:38 AM.


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

  3. #3

    • Diamond In The Rough
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Day 2 - Weds 30th September

    Up at 8.15 and a quick bowl of cereal and a brew at the food court before we drove to Down Town Disney at 9ish. Parked up and walked over to the Hess Gas Station to pick up some water, milk, snacks and a polystyrene cooler so we could keep those precious American candys (and the drinks)safe from the Florida heat. It served us well for the whole of our trip and for 7 dollars it was a heck of lot cheaper than renting a fridge! Just fill it with ice from the machine each day and it works a treat.

    Dropped all this back at the room and then caught the bus to Disney's Hollywood Studios at 11.30.
    Pixar Place and Toy Story Midway Mania were new to us, so we headed over to check it out. Unsurprisingly, TSMM had a 60min wait (!) and the FP return time was already 5pm, so we had a good look around this new section of the park and left it at that for the time being. We've got an unofficial rule that the most we'll wait in line for anything is 20mins, so we resolved to come back another day.
    Grabbed FPs for Tower Of Terror (which were for 12-1, and hour later) so headed over to the Catalina Eddie's/Rosie's All American Cafe area for lunch.
    We love this part of the Studios as it offers lots of different choices from the various kiosks and has something for everyone. Kathryn had the Deli sandwich and I wimped out with chicken strips. (This was also the first of many times that the CM behind the counter pointed out that "chips are crisps in the US" - we knew about the different use of the word chips in the States, but they still seemed keen to warn us. Must be a lot of disappointed British folks complaining about their lunch!)


    The WW2-themed eatery area in DHS is full of little touches like this.

    After lunch the FPs for Tower were valid so we popped over to Rock N Roller Coaster to grab some FPs for that - 1.45 return time.


    Disney Records had a stage and promotional booth setup in the RnR forecourt, but we never saw anything happening there.

    On to ToT - we walked straight into the library and the preshow started almost straight away. I could get used to this lack of queueing!
    It's a great ride and although I think that WDWs is the best version, the "4th Dimension" room doesn't really work for me.

    With plenty of time until RnR Fps kicked in, it was over to The Great Movie Ride. I've never explored the forecourt before, and there were some really interesting (and funny) hand prints in the cement out front.


    Clark W. Griswald himself!

    The queue backed up into the room where the trailers are screened and one small child was really freaked out by the Alien trailer. The aren't nearly enough trailers in the loop for the length of the line - we saw them all twice. How hard can it be to add some more?

    The version of the ride we had was the Gangster hijack, and for the first time in my experience the gangster was a woman. I think I prefer the Cowboy/Cowgirl version, if only for the fire effects.
    Being a big Alien fan I love that scene in the ride, and in another first for me, we were perfectly placed to see the Alien that attacks from above. It's pretty cool, and has the translucent headpiece with the skull visible underneath that only appears in the first movie. (Nerd alert!)


    The Oz finale still impresses.


    "Was it you?"

    Back over to TOT to grab more FPs (it's Kathryn's favorite and I feel that, with the random drop sequences, it never gets dull) and then on to RnR.
    We lucked out on getting the front row without asking and it made for a different experience!
    Firstly, I never noticed that the signs etc don't light up until your coaster reaches them which adds a cool visual effect to the ride that you don't get further back. Secondly, with no one in front of you, the rush of air directly into your face throughout the ride added greatly to the sense of speed!


    Kathryn noticed that these Kanye West shades had a "100% UV protection" label AND an "no UV protection" sticker.


    The view of 2 Studios icons from the RnR exit.

    Quick break for tea and choc milk at Starring Rolls, then back through Pixar Place again (where we saw the Monsters inc Meet n Greet area tucked away with practically no queue) and a quick mooch around the Streets Of America.


    Me with the nectar of the gods at Starring Rolls.


    I really feel for whoever was Mike's "friend" that day. It looks like one of the most uncomfortable jobs in the World!

    Streets of America was a bit of a disappointment as they were midway through putting up the Osbourne lights, so a lot of the buildings were roped off or had machinery in front of them.


    On a hot day like this, even this hydrant's half-hearted attempt to cool us down was welcome.


    Have to take a break now, but back soon with the rest of the day - Block Party Bash wows us, we take the most convoluted route ever to our ADR, luck out on Toy Story Midway Mania and have a most unexpected meeting...
    Last edited by PeaJay18; 10-23-2009 at 05:39 AM.


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

  4. #4

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Great Trip report Peajay18!!! I can't wait to read more. Last time I was there was in 2007. I should be back in April 2010 with my Girlfriend and a few others.

    I can relate to the "Chips vs. crisps". It took me a while to get used to the difference when I visited London last year. LOL

  5. #5

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    • Skeevy Ray Vaughan
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Very cool! Thank you for the pictures and report!

  6. #6

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Great TR, looking forward to more.
    Down with the Hat


  7. #7

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Love it so far!
    Good morning, son
    In twenty years from now
    Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
    And I can tell you 'bout today
    And how I picked you up and everything changed
    It was pain
    Sunny days and rain
    I knew you'd feel the same things...





  8. #8

    • Waiting for my E-Ticket
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    This leads to much discussion as to whether the Village People are British or American - turns out I'm right.
    They're American. They formed in Greenwich Village in NYC.

  9. #9

    • Diamond In The Rough
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    They're American. They formed in Greenwich Village in NYC.
    I knew that. The whole bus knew that. But the wife didn't.


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

  10. #10

    • 1,200 Miles from da Mouse
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Great TR! I actually had a female gangster my last time on the GMR I don't remember having the cowboy/cowgirl scenario...then again it was pretty unique..

    What's the differences in the 4th dimension room?
    The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
    -George S. Patton


  11. #11

    • Don't mess with the duck!
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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Loving your report. Can't wait for more.

  12. #12

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Nice Trip report!

    I have to say, DHS would be a blast if it wasn't for all that HSM stuff. Ick... Anyway, I do have something to confess. I chickened out on ToT. I was about ready to board when I decided that I just couldn't do it. I did get to see the preshow at least.

    RnR was the first launched coaster for me, so needless to say, it literally took my breath away! I had a blast on it, but my father didn't fair so well. He was sick for the rest of the day!

    I look forward to the rest of this report!


  13. #13

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    What a great trip report! Looks like you got to stay in our favorite part of POP! We always request staying in that building, on that side. Our daughter LOVES the ducks. Although, after a couple of days...they learned which room was our's...and woke us up every morning, hoping for food.


    I can't wait to see more!




  14. #14

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Waiting for more!!
    Just countin' the days til the next visit!

  15. #15

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    Re: PeaJays Hotter Than The Sun TR

    Thanks everybody for the kind words - it's spurred me on and I'm writing up the next part now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ORD84 View Post
    Great TR! I actually had a female gangster my last time on the GMR I don't remember having the cowboy/cowgirl scenario...then again it was pretty unique..

    What's the differences in the 4th dimension room?
    The main difference between WDWs ToT and everybody else's is that the elevator car moves forward through a "4th dimension" room (it's supposed to be like travelling through the opening sequence of the Twilight Zone, but just strikes me as some odd shapes and a blacklight)

    I know for a fact that Paris' ToT doesn't and I'm pretty sure none of the other versions do. It strikes me as the easiest section to cut for cost vs guest experience reasons.


    "I'm gettin' kind of fond of you, kid.
    Not that I want to pick out curtains or anything."

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