POR Early February 2015

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Joined: November 14th, 2012, 1:35 pm

POR Early February 2015

Unread post by Tach » February 11th, 2015, 3:08 pm

Hey all- back and decompressing from a fantastic Orlando trip last week! POR was once again a wonderful stay, quiet, convenient, and homey. Here's a quick rundown on the highlights:

First stop was actually Universal and a stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This is a fantastic hotel with retro 50's/60's decor and styling, with great amenities and features all at a moderate price. If you're staying at Uni at all and don't want to go overboard on hotel spending, this place is perfect!

We spend 2 and a half days at Universal, with the last day a focus on the Harry Potter lands in both parks. We landed smack dab in the middle of the annual Harry Potter Celebration, which was wonderful- so many wizards and witches wondering the parks in full dress and spirits! We even ran into one of our West Coast friends randomly!

The Diagon Alley expansion was our main focus, as we'd seen Hogsmeade before- it is one of the best themed lands of any park I have ever been too- including Disney. Once you enter, you're enveloped by the buildings and pulled into the story- and it never lets go! Even outside in the London area, the illusion is kept alive by the Knight Bus Driver! There's even panhandling musicians playing in King's Cross Station!

After a wonderful traditional English breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, we selected and purchased wands at Olivander's and had a blast chasing down the interactive elements all around the Alley. Even adults love this stuff!

The Escape From Gringott's ride is great- no real complaints about the use of screens here. Uni has mastered the technology, and while animatronics are missed, they really know how to wow you with what they have.

The train ride to Hogsmeade is great both coming and going- with the real showstopper being the passersby outside your cabin. It's dead on amazing how they did that part!

Moving over to Disney- we had some great moments the rest of the week.

The Magic Bands and FP+ took some getting used to. Once you find the sweet spot on the scanners and your band, they go through pretty easily. Most of the Cast Members were very patient with guests trying to figure things out, and keeping the lines moving when there was difficulty. I don't envy them, but do thank them.

At Animal Kingdom, we took a late afternoon Safari tour, which led to the animals being much more active on a cooler day- we saw many more than we'd seen on previous trips. I'd highly recommend later times for this attraction. We ended the day with some tea in Anandapour, and it was quite lovely- the sun going down over the trees and cool breezes kept the spirit of AK alive as we sipped our way out of the park.

Over at Hollywood Studios, we had some of the best meals of the trip at Sci-Fi Dine-In and 50's Prime Time Cafe. We love both locations for the decor and Prime Time especially for the atmosphere and servers- and this time it was fantastic! The gouda stuffed pork chop is a #1 recommendation there- and topped my meals list for WDW (until a few days later, that is!).

We ran into some great streetmosphere performers whom we'd never met before and owned their performances with such gusto- it was hilarious. The Security guard and Cowboy searching for his lost horse. If you see them, stop and chat with them- it'll be something you never forget!

The Hat was still being removed while we were there, but we could see the top of the Chinese Theater from the entrance, so that's something!

Jumping over to Epcot- the highlights there were the new (to us) Test Track, and our first visit to Biergarten! Both were amazing. Biergarten came highly recommended by the Disney Hipster Podcast, and lived up to the hype! My wife and I both attended local Octoberfest celebrations, but I would attend this one every day if I could! Although, my waistline wouldn't love me...

Finally, we hit Magic Kingdom for the last day and a half of our trip. Friday was insanely crowded- I haven't seen that many people outside October for MNSSHP days or the like. The day started off very poorly for us- and threatened to put a damper on the whole thing. But- a few shining moments really made it the best day we could imagine:

A snafu at Big Thunder lead to us being mis-informed about the FP+ requirements for returning later. We went to a FP+ kiosk to inquire about understanding the system and finding out if there was anything to be done for us.

We met CM Alex, who heard our story, and brought over a Guest Services rep, Valerie. They both understood our situation, and apologized profusely for the misinformation we were given. Valerie then wrote up TWO paper fastpasses- one for Big Thunder, and another for use anywhere (she suggested Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- which we'd admitted we'd already experienced earlier). All of this in addition to Alex switching our existing FP to Jungle Cruise. 3 for the price of 1!

Alex then took us aside and let us know that we had just been treated by Walt Disney's own god-daughter. We freaked out and ran back to get a photo with Valerie- who was so pleased by the request! (we went to City Hall later to give them written commendations too- recommended for everyone who has an above-and-beyond experience with a CM at Disney).

As if that couldn't be topped- we dined at Be Our Guest- where the entire experience put all other dining that week to shame. If any of you get the chance- book it. You will not regret it at all. It was stellar from start to finish. It even beat out our meal at Cinderella's Castle last trip. I understand now why it is so difficult to get reservations!

It was a long 8 days- but at the end of it, we were not ready to go home. If we could have, we would have stayed even longer- it was truly a magical trip that will be hard to top.

Once again- thanks to Andre for this wonderful resource! It's a great place for tips and tricks for POR and beyond! Cheers!

Posts: 46
Joined: September 15th, 2011, 12:17 pm

Re: POR Early February 2015

Unread post by JohnB » February 12th, 2015, 7:57 am

Thanks for the great trip report; glad you had a great time. Have yet to get to Universal, but from what we hear about world of HP, we might have to get there as well. 10 days to go, before we get "back home" to POR and WDW.

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