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11/9/2014 2:34 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 1: arrived mid afternoon, so just stayed at the resort at sampled cocktails.

Day 2: breakfast, shopping, HHN.

First up was one of my trip highlights, meeting the Brers. You can't book here unless you're a resident, so I was nervous we wouldn't get seated. It turns out it was very quiet and this was a Sunday morning. First set was Minnie and Pluto, then the Brers.

Pluto at Hilton LBV


Minnie at Hilton LBV


Brer Bear at Hilton LBV


Brer Fox at Hilton LBV


All in all, I would absolutely recommend coming here, it's the only place you're sure to meet Brer Fox and Bear (although I saw them everywhere as you'll see). The price was good and the food was decent, although the wait at the omlette station was nonsense!

We then went to Premium Outlets and I found some neat Star Wars vinyls for $4 and a bunch of duck pins, and a cool munks lanyard which I've wanted for a while!

Then in the evening we went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal.
We like scary experiences, we like thrills, we don't mind paying for an awesome experience. Each ticket was $91 as we couldn't get the add on, because we'd bought our main ticket in the UK. I had very high expectations for that price and the reviews I'd read online. My expectations were not met - at all.

The lines were ridiculous; minimum of 2 hours for each of the "houses". You could hardly move. They were serving lots of people lots of alcohol. Lots of people acting dumb and shouting and a totally uncomfortable experience. I actually felt unsafe. I don't like people being drunk, and I don't like feeling crammed in. I think Universal oversold this event, and it made it totally unpleasant. It wasn't even scary, it was actually "LOL funny". I would not recommend this event to anyone. A total waste of money. I wish I'd done a second MNSSHP...

We got back at 11pm (very early since HHN ends at 2am) ready for a day at DHS the next day....

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11/9/2014 3:50 PM
Vala
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Vala

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You can tell from the pictures how much fun you had at the breakfast.

I'm really sorry to hear about HHN. That's something my friends always wanted to drag me to in California, and I always told them no because I'm not too fond of the style they do it. It definitely seems like they keep raising the prices while selling more and more tickets. =/
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11/10/2014 6:22 AM
DisneyMart
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Wow. Great pictures, love the Brers, so it's cool that you got to see them!

Sorry to hear about your experience at HHN!

Look forward to reading more!

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11/10/2014 8:46 AM
DisneyDuckLover
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Second instalment tonight :-p

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11/10/2014 1:04 PM
DisneyMart
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It's great having so many trip reports in progress!!

😃😃😃😃😃😃

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11/10/2014 1:14 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 3: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Our first full Disney day, I'm sure you can guess my priorities: DUCKS. I just adore their DHS outfits, and I know how easy they are to meet in the studios, but it still didn't quell my excitement and eagerness to meet them ASAP.

We entered the park and headed straight to Aerosmith, and then to ToT...we had Fastpasses for them again later in the day, but my family love them so we were happy. Then it was character time. We headed to Big Hat area, both Goofy and Pluto had really long lines, and their sets were finishing in 15 minutes. We got in line and by the time we were two from front their was a switch....feathers are heading our way!

First up Donald...


Then the delectable Daisy :love:


Out of the corner of my eyes I saw a red shirt, and funky hair....omg it was Max Goof! You guys know what an "afternoons" fan I am, as Max has been cut from Palooza I didn't think I'd be able to see him...he had a short line, and the family before me called him "Goofy" and "Mickey's homey"...I think he was stoked to see my Goof Troop pin!

Max


After that awesome half hour, we grabbed lunch at Mil and Bill's Dockside Diner, I had the pretzel hotdog and soda which was good.

Next up was our first Fastpass: Mermaid. I know some think it's corny, but I think it's a great show, if a little short. Ursula and the opening sequence were my highlights - I loved it! We then headed to Motors stunt show, which is really enjoyed much more than it's DLP relation. We wondered around that end of the park, grabbed a soda to cool down and bumped into some friendly monsters with no line whatsoever...

Sully and Mike


Then it was our ToT Fastpass, and my first Palooza of the vacation. This trip I wanted maximum duck meets, Robin Hood, Max and Brers; so far my trip had been a success...

Today's Palooza was:

Genie


Mulan and Mushu


Princess Tiana


The Queen


Sailor Donald


Meeko and Pocahontas


The only characters it didn't see were Aladdin and Jasmine, they had the longest line and I knew I'd see them at some point as they're pretty regular. Mushu, Genie and Donald were amazing, and my love affair with Tiana was started here, I told her about my German friend Petra, and she said she wanted to sample her German gumbo...which did make me and Genie laugh!

We did our FP for Aerosmith and then did The Great Movie Ride which I think needs a drastic overhaul and some cash spent on it.

We grabbed some sodas and snacks at Catalina Eddie, then some shopping and watched that evening's Fantasmic. It is a good show, but I could certainly make Improvements to it, there's a lot of junk in there, and some stuff I would add. But all in all it was decent. We managed to get out quick and avoided the crush.

Tomorrow was an exciting day for me I needed sleep...MNSSHP!

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11/10/2014 2:19 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 4: Animal Kingdom and MNSSHP

I had planned an early start so we could do the Kilimanjaro Safari, so we got to AK well before rope drop and power walked to the back of Africa for KS. We were the second van to set off, and I didn't want to take pics, I just wanted to enjoy the experience. It was amazing; cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, gazelle - all up really close. The giraffes were gorgeous, I love wildlife and animals so this was an amazing experience and I soaked in every minute. I don't think I'll ever do a real safari so this was the next best thing.

Afterwards we did a bit of pin shopping, and headed to Asia to do Expedition Everest. This is probably one of the best coasters in WDW imo. I loved it, it was so well themed and was thrilling but not scary.

We headed back to Africa as we had a FP at Liom King and a reservation at Tusker House. On the way we saw some jungle friends

Baloo and King Louie


They were great fun, and probably one of the best characters experience on the whole trip. They were so playful. And they really made my mum feel special as it was her birthday that week and Jungle Book is her all time favourite Disney movie.

We saw Lion King, and I thought it was good, but I would have preferred to have some sort of story rather than just a medley of the songs with no theme or anything. The actual performers were outstanding.

Now was Tusker House. I was apprehensive about this because the reviews all say it's noisy and chaotic with average food. That was not my experience. I thought the food was outstanding for a theme park buffet, with great choices for part time vegetarians like me! Lots of salad, cous cous, veggies, plantain, pastas, and the cookies were awesome too haha! For the price, I would recommend this place to anyone. It's also a neat place to meet the characters in cool safari costumes. Obviously Daisy was top of my list :love: both Donald and Daisy, but particularly Donald loved my Ducktales shirt!

Mickey


Donald


Daisy


Goofy


We finished our food, and decided to head to the hotel to rest for a few hours before MNSSHP

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11/10/2014 2:31 PM
DisneyDan
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Great report so far! Big Grin

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11/10/2014 5:01 PM
DisneyMart
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So many characters already!!!

So glad you got to see Max! 😃

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11/10/2014 5:35 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 4 evening : MNSSHP

I was so excited for this event, not just the characters, but the parade and the general ambiance. I was not let down - it was well worth the money and I would do it again in a flash! I didn't do any trick or treating, but I loved the unique theming and how everyone was loving every minute!

We got there at 4pm and we did some shopping and watched the cool show by the castle where Donald has a dream and features a creepy Captain Hook...I loved that show and I really hope the talking characters become meet able in the parks soon.

Before we knew it was 5pm, and I knew this party was a sell out. I didn't want to wait too much longer before queuing up for the dwarves. I grabbed a soda and took my place in line. I was 4th in line and I met some great people in the line who were big character fans. My family did some shopping and grabbed food and joined me in line at 6:15pm and we waited together until 7pm - I was so surprised they waited, but we all agreed it was worth it. The dwarves were so cute, and we got the cutest family shot ever. I'm not going to post it just because they don't want their picture on the net. We were only allowed one group shot, but I sneakily got a selfie with my favourite dwarf as he loved my pin on my bag strap!



Selfie of me and Grumpy


My family soon caught the character but and were dying to meet the hag, her line was about a dozen long and she hadn't begun meeting yet. Again pictures were really strict, only one per person. I was pretty annoyed about this and hoped it wasn't going to be like this all night with every character...


The park started to feel really busy right about now, and I was surprised no one checked our wrist bands yet...

We all agreed to check out Club Villain while we had energy to dance. I have to admit the prospect of a dance party didn't fill me with joy, I'd rather just have regular meet and greets. However, we had an amazing time. Whilst we didn't get posed pictures with all the villains, we have some great memories including Gideon twerking on my mum and Ratcliffe stealing my watch and running off!

The villains in attendance were Cruella, The Tremaines, Gideon, and Ratcliffe.
I really enjoyed it overall, and would do it again, but I just wish there had been an opportunity to take some nice posed pics...I was lucky to get what I got...



I won't put my pics with Lady Tremaine up because it's hideous, and I didn't bother trying for the other villains, as it was a free for all, especially Gideon, he was like a rock star! If only these people came to Paris!

We walked through Adventureland and I saw Terk solo, her attendant assured me that if I waited 20 minutes Terk would be joined by two friends. I took the opportunity to grab a soda and I was then happy to see Tarzan, Jane and Terk!




We watched the parade, fireworks etc and I was conscious I hadn't seen some of my top priorities yet: Lotso, Daisy and Donald!

Tomorrowland was absolutely heaving, so I headed to New Fantasyland to see my duckies. The lines were insane, and annoyingly, Minnie and Daisy were doing alternative sets. I lined up and by the time I was near the front Daisy left and Minnie joined, I was eager to see at least one duck so I ran over to line up for Donald - the line took 35 minutes! By which time Daisy was back so I lined back up....only to be one away from her as she left and Minnie came back out.

Goofy was jealous of my Donald pins and marched off crying. The attendant begged me to have a picture with Goofy, and I said "only if a Donald agrees..." And Donald insisted I didn't, he pushed me out of the way and teased Goofy, he made me point to Donald and say "number one" and wave goodbye to Goofy! The whole line of people was laughing, it was really a magical moment!


My family were calling me as we had limited time and they wanted to do the Mine Train (as did I!). The line was 30 minutes, but it actually took 45...the theming is outstanding and it felt like a DLP attraction. I did feel that the ride was a little short, and that it could have been about a minute longer, it was over so fast. I would recommend people do it, but I would not recommend wasting valuable MK time in a queue that is more than 30 minutes.

By the time we'd done the ride, it was almost home time. We had a long day at Islands of Adventure planned, so although I was devastated not to see my Princess Daisy it was a great evening. We grabbed some Halloween merch including pins and tees. There wasn't much left tbh, I was disappointed that there was still two parties to go but hardly any shirts or pins left...
edited by JoelMcDuck on 11/10/2014

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11/10/2014 7:19 PM
rodnyhansel
Chip 'n' Dale
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Lucky you!! You got Mushu!! Great pics!! Love the report!
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11/11/2014 12:49 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 4: MNSSHP parade pics

Oops I nearly forgot!





















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11/11/2014 1:53 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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Day 5: Islands of Adventure

I was windy about lining up for 5 hours to go on the Harry Potter ride, so I persuaded my family to get to the park for 8:15am. We were about the 10th party there and the crowds soon seemed to build up. At rope drop we power walked to Hogsmeade.

We rode the Forbidden Journey with no queue, and decided we should do it again before the crowds, in the space of five minutes the line wait time had gone to 60 minutes. We were so lucky to ride it twice within 15 mins!

Overall it is a good attraction with world class theming, I don't think it's an outstanding attraction though, there's something missing...but in general my expectations were high for the rest of IoA...

We rode Hippogriff, which is a total waste of time, and then Dragons. This was actually pretty thrilling, and I know it's a refurb of an old coaster, but I thought the rude was very good, the theming was appalling though - it seemed rushed on very much "budget".

We then decided to soak up the atmosphere of Hogsmeade, and in general it is very good. The stores are well themed, the buildings and minor details are absolutely fantastic. My family are Potter fans and we really happy.

I do think there is a misses opportunity here, it is the busiest area of the park and clearly brings the crowds in. Could you imagine how commercially attractive a Harry Potter character dining option might be? Just having the characters out in general would bring even more footfall and therefore spend into the park. I really think Universal need to consider this...

We decided to lunch early, and this is where my view of IoA began to change from good to bad. The food is about the same price as Disney, but the quality is totally inferior. I had chicken breast, salad and a bread roll with soda. The bread roll was stale and the salad was browned. I took it straight back, they swapped it. The new bread was stale and there was no salad...I took it back again, and rather than an apology I was greeted with "what is your problem exactly?"

They said that bread is always like that and I need to remember I'm visiting their country and I shouldn't expect what I get at home. At that point I lost my appetite and just asked for a refund.

FYI the soda was flat too, but if don't want to be pedantic :-p

We headed back through Hogsmeade to Marvel Island. Other than Hogsmeade there were no crowds anywhere. The park seemed empty! We walked through Toon Lagoon which I thought was tacky and unappealling, none of those brands really appeal to me, I can't see the mass appeal other than maybe Popeye, Woody and Betty. The rest are garbage IMO. Universal have/had the rights to Hannah Baraba, surely the Flintstones, Topcat, Mutley and Dastardly, Jestsomes etc would be wildly more popular than "Snuppy Smith"!



Popeye and Olive Oyl were out meeting by Betty's store



Awful casting, Olive had more wrinkles than raisin, and Popeye had a Spanish accent! I would not have these as face characters, they were absolutely appalling.

I wanted out, so we headed to Marvel Island, and there seemed to be a few more people around. Captain America, Storm and Wolverine were out meeting and their lines were pretty solid. We really wanted to ride Spider-Man, and with only a 5 minute wait posted - why not?



This redeemed things a little, while the theming wasn't great, the ride certainly was, I loved it. So many characters and great ideas, job well done.

We rode Dr Doom straight after and again, I enjoyed it. It had no wait at all.

We headed to meet Spider-Man. I shouldn't have worn a green tshirt.



We waited around for Wolverine and Storm. Again, appalling casting and laughable costumes. I seriously saw better Halloween costumes than this. I was embarrassed. I couldn't even take a picture with Storm as it was so cheap and tacky.



We headed to Hulk but I sat this one out, I had a headache and from experience this coaster gives you a headache anyways!



We'd headed back to Toon Lagoon to do the water rides before we left. These rides were brilliant. Be warned, you get DRENCHED on Popeye but we had a brilliant time!

We sat in the sun and dried off, then headed to Starbucks for an afternoon coffee and cookie. We saw Woody Woodpecker with no line, so we said hi. Best character of the day. He was fun.



And it was home time!

Overall, the day was ok, not great, not awful. So far my impression of Universal wasn't great tbh.

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11/11/2014 3:56 PM
Vala
Cheshire Cat
Vala

Posts: 1975
JoelMcDuck Wrote:

They said that bread is always like that and I need to remember I'm visiting their country and I shouldn't expect what I get at home. At that point I lost my appetite and just asked for a refund.


EEK!
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11/11/2014 5:00 PM
DisneyMart
Sorcerer's Apprentice
DisneyMart

Posts: 3161
Wow...

Sounds like a shocking state of affairs at Universal, I have zero interest in visiting.. Ever!

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11/11/2014 5:08 PM
DisneyDuckLover
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I feel the need to be balanced here; it wasn't awful. It just wasn't great.

My family liked it, again, they didn't love it or hate it. But they did like it. They actually preferred it to Magic Kingdom and DHS...

Different strokes for different folks...

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11/12/2014 1:47 AM
Vala
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Vala

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JoelMcDuck Wrote:
I feel the need to be balanced here; it wasn't awful. It just wasn't great.

My family liked it, again, they didn't love it or hate it. But they did like it. They actually preferred it to Magic Kingdom and DHS...

Different strokes for different folks...


That's what I got from your writing. But things like the comments you got when you complained about food should never ever happen, no matter if Disney or Universal. This coming from someone working in a major tourist spot majorly shocked me.

Of course there's differences in UK bread and US bread. And German bread is again different. But stale is stale, no matter what the base material is.
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11/12/2014 6:10 AM
DisneyDuckLover
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Yeh breadgate was my breaking point, I agree that stale is wrong universally, not just in the UK!

I just think Universal is a little amateur in comparison to Disney, it's no way near as slick and well managed. Disney aren't perfect as we all know, but I do think they're on another level for service and style generally, compared with their rivals.

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11/12/2014 8:29 AM
DisneyDan
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Food has always been questionable at Universal, but then to be fair we've had bad food at Disney too, just perhaps not as often.
As for Universal in general, from our personal experiences we have always really enjoyed it. If you go in expecting Disney then you'll be disappointed, but if you go in expecting something better than a regular "theme" park, then you'll have a great time. Universal to us offers a respite from Disney, which can be very intense. Crowds at Disney can be unbearable, whereas I feel we can have fun at Universal while not fighting ridiculous volumes of people.

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Dan.
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11/12/2014 10:46 AM
DisneyDuckLover
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I agree Dan, the lack of crowds was an amazing respite from the madness of WDW. We barely queued for anything at US or IoA (other than HHN). It is good, don't get me wrong, but I was disappointed overall.

You're yet to see my time at US...which was interesting to say the least. Next installment tonight! Big Grin

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