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  1. #61

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Interactive displays tell us when upcoming space missions will occur:





    A model of the Shuttles:

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  2. #62

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    We were under this puppy when the rain returned. Nothing like seeing a wall of rain zeroing in on you. Even standing under it, the rain managed to get us. We ran as fast as we could to the nearby Shuttle Launch Experience.

    When we arrived, a good-natured staff person explained that we'd have to put our bags in a locker before entering, and that the lockers were out in the open, with no shelter from the rain. "Yeah, the lockers are outside, because it never rains in Florida", she explained with a delightful dose of sarcasm. She went the extra mile and held our umbrella as we fumbled to stash our belongings.



    The Shuttle Launch Experience is meant to simulate the intensity of space flight. The cabins are similair to Star Tours. The lift-off simulation is indeed super intense. Moreso than Epcots' Mission Space, I'd say.

    After lift-off, it's a typical theme park attraction in that something goes horribly wrong. The experience is definately more realistic and educational than Mission: Space, whose mission to Mars is based more in fantasy than fact.

    I was glad that the Shuttle Launch Experience was not a Mission: Space clone, it's a unique and interesting attraction in it's own right.



    Another mad dash through the rain to another building, and we check out some wonderful artwork:



    I loved this painting:



    More art:

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  3. #63

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    We watched the Star Trek Live show:



    It's a low-key little show, with some educational elements, and some nice moments. I wouldn't suggest it be a high priority, but it's fun if you've done everything else.



    Not pictured is a horrified Vince being dragged onstage during the show. Curse their no-camera policy!

    We also watched one of the IMAX 3D films, the one about the Hubble telescope. It was good.

    The rain let up, so we were able to check out the rockets outside:





    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  4. #64

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    A few more random shots, which may be from the Astrounaut Hall of Fame, but I can't recall for sure. The Hall of Fame is a small building down the road from the Space Center, and is included with admission. It has a really intense two-person centrifuge simulator ride, but it was closed this visit.









    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  5. #65

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    We headed back for dinner at Whispering Canyon, at the gorgeous Wilderness Lodge:







    A fireside table? As if Orlando isn't warm enough! I guess it's all about the ambience:



    The kids in the restaurant seemed to having fun, galloping around on toy horses. Vince was delighted that we were in a side area, away from the commotion this restaurant is known for.

    We opted for the all-you-can-eat BBQ offerings. Coleslaw, corn bread, and salal get things started:



    Corn, ribs, mashed potatoes, beans, chicken, brisket, and pulled pork make up the rest of the meal:



    I deem the food we had to be average. I've had better BBQ. It was good, but in hindsight I wish I'd tried an entree, instead of giving in to the temptation of all-you-can-eat.

    We didn't have room for dessert, so the waiter packed it up for us to take home. It was Apple-Caramel Pie, and it was delicious, even a day later.

    With that, we drove back to our resort, stuffed, and maybe a litte jealous at the majesty of a Disney Deluxe Resort.

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  6. #66

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    what a lovely vacation!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!

  7. #67

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Day 09: September 29

    For our third, and final, day off-property we drove back to Universal so see what we missed the first day, and to re-visit some favorites.

    This time, we were there for park opening, and headed straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

    It was less busy today (a Wednesday) than on the Monday. Did the Tuesday rain, and potential for more rain keep people away? Who knows.



    A look at the entrance to the Dragon Challenge coasters. They're very fun coasters, but don't fit in with the Harry Potter theme all that well in my opinion. Seeing coaster tracks detracts from the exquisitely themed area. They also have little appeal to the youngest fans of Potter. They never had a significant wait during our visits.



    More of Wizarding World:





    Checking out the back alleyways, and a chain-link fence which looks like it might be part of a queue to access the shops on busy days. Have I mentioned I love the off-season?



    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  8. #68

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    The longest wait-times at Universal are apparently for the Olivander's Wand Shop show. Capacity is extremely limited, so we made this our first stop. Getting there early paid off, as we only had to wait a few minutes.

    Inside the shop:



    This is a small little show, in which one visitor (in our group, the young girl dressed in full Wizarding Robes was selected) chooses a wand, or rather, has a wand choose them. Some neat effects, and a fun little show.

    The clerk, who did an awesome job:



    It's great that Wizarding Worlds' tiny and cramped shops are authentic to their source material, but the limited capacity is the major downside. I wonder if they could have done multiple shows for Olivander's, hidden backstage, accessed by one entrance, similair to what is done with Mickey's House in Toontown. Fantastic themeing is for naught if not everyone can see what you've created.

    One of the animated props:



    The broomsticks up in the background appear to actually be floating. There were lots of such interactive displays in the shops and store windows. The amound of little details in Wizarding World is phenomenal:



    We rode Forbidden Journey for a fourth time, with a mere 20-minute wait on this overcast morning:

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  9. #69

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    More Potter scenery:



















    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  10. #70

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Entrance to the Three Broomsticks:



    And the interior:



    And even more Potter scenery:








    A popular photo-op. If only they would build an actual Hogwarts Express attraction:



    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  11. #71

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Though clearly the main draw, there is more to Islands of Adventure than Harry Potter. It is in fact, one of the nicest-themed park in all of Orlando. It compares favourably to the best of Disney.







    I'd forgotten how good this next attraction is, although the cheesy ending could use some work:



    Poseidon's Fury is an attraction in which we walk between several show scenes, in which actors and effects bring to life a journey into the depths of a temple. My favourite moment is when the young archaelogists' assistant tells us we're going to die, and when the audience laughs, admonishes us "that isn't funny!'.

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  12. #72

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Exterior of Mythos Restaurant. Not sure what the vomiting face is supposed to represent:



    Looking over at the Hulk coaster:



    Looking over at Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-rat Barges. This is a huge water rapids ride, yet it's barely visible from anywhere in the park. They did a great job hiding it. It doesn't have any drops, which is a downside, but you still get drenched. All of Universal's water rides, in fact, seem designed to soak each and every guest from head to toe:



    This figure welcomes visitors to the Lost Continent:



    Next up is the High in the Sky Suess Trolley ride:



    I'll say it again, I don't know how people manage in peak tourist season:





    You don't see a lot on this ride you can't see from the ground, but it's still fun:



    This has never been open when I've visited. Too bad, as just as I'll pay big bucks for Butterbeer, I'll pay the price to eat green eggs:

    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  13. #73

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    Love this:



    Once again, we park-hop to Universal Studios. 2010 Winter Olympic mascot Mukmuk is with us as always:



    I don't think we went in here:



    We rode Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, pretty standard motion simulator fare:



    Halloween decor:



    We did the Twister attraction, which was better than I remembered. It made me want to watch the movie again:



    I'm not sure I like the intrusion of the Rip Rocket Roller Coaster into the park. Sadly, it was down for maintenance during our visit:



    Some random shots from Universal:



    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  14. #74

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    The Mummy, another fun attraction that was a walk-on throughout our visit:



    Another of Universal's shops, themed to, and stocked with merchandise pertaining to, a specific attraction:



    We decided to try Finnegan's for lunch:











    Like Mythos, it was very good food but without the inflated prices you see at Disney. I was a little disappointed that the staff were just locals, after getting used to the Epcot restaurants where staff were actually from the country that inspired the cuisine.
    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

  15. #75

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    Re: 12 Days in Orlando: Walt Disney World, Universal, and the Kennedy Space Center

    The Simpsons ride. I wouldn't mind if it were just a little less jerky, a little less frantic, but good fun nonetheless. One of the most entertaining and well-done pre-shows, starting with the outside queue.



    Funny stuff:



    Meeting characters doesn't tend to be a huge priority for me, but for Homer friggin Simpson I made an exception:



    Men in Black:



    More Halloween decorations:





    Scooby!



    We checked out the Lucy tribute:



    My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:http://micechat.com/14795-disney-wonder/

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