Florida (FL) USA with the grandchildren for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World resort, Walt had built it from the late 60s when he purchased the land from Irlo Bronson Sr, rancher and Democratic senator for the state of Florida, it opened in 1972 hence the 50th celebrations including fireworks at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot which were spectacular. For this trip I will mention where we went and what we did which included Davenport, Berry Town Centre, Kissimmee, all 4 parks, i.e. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, Universal Studios (although that was only Craig and family) as near Septuagenarians by then having walked 37.5 miles around parks in blistering heat and humidity we were to put no finer point on it... knackered #teehee, we returned again in 2018 on our 40th Wedding Anniversary cruise, click HERE to see that Blog. This Family trip is also replicated on the motorhome-travels blog as BLOG 183. We had been before BLOG165 but if you prefer to stay here on this site there is a almost identical version of that here as USA 1997, thanks as always for looking folks, best KeefH Web Designs.
Family Holiday to Orlando, Florida, USA - Theme Parks for Disney's 50th at Magic Kingdom
A wonderful family holiday for 3 weeks staying at Regal Palms Resort in the Davenport and Bay Lakes area of Florida, just off the Purple heart highway (no 27) and mostly using the 192 Highway (West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, both father and son Irlo Bronson (Sr & Jr) were prominent Floridian Democratic Politicians and the father is best known for selling some of his ranch land to Walt Disney to construct Disney World, there you go a bit of relevant history for you). The 192 got us to Disney (& Universal) theme parks and all the obvious American eateries, some of which are to die for (sadly in some folks cases literally) just loved the all American "big and brash" approach to life for 3 weeks. Not sure I could live there, the gun thing and school shooter issue is very prominent every day in their newscasts (dominated by adverts #smile) plus Florida's republican governor Ron DeSantis has views I could never align with , BUT 3 weeks to explore a highly interesting culture that really defines the term "2 nations that speak the same language but are separated by it" was truly a wonderful opportunity spent with my loving and fun, caring extended family, I am a VERY HAPPY MAN #fact Note also entry to Animal Kingdom off the 192 should be via the Sherberth Rd (entry point)
Fun times with the family, use this to see what we did and where we went on our 24-day holiday with Craig, Leanne, Edie and Tate. It of course included that very special day on the 16th for Edie's 6th birthday, it was also the last of our 14 days continuously at the Disney World Parks, a fabulous time of rides, shows, shops, restaurants and meeting celebrity Disney characters, getting their autographs and having cuddles with them and getting our pictures taken with them a true delight for grandchildren #magical
Have I said as yet, we almost Septuagenarians, walked 37.5 miles around the parks, not bad in that heat and humidity #creamcrackered
Note on the 17th we returned to Disney Springs in the eve to watch Disney's version of Cirque du soleil, but I sadly left that off the calendar #dumbkopf (see I do know some other languages) #haha
WEEK 1 - 29th July to 7th August 2022
Summary: There are 660 images in a slideshow lasting 21 minutes followed by a video with speech lasting for 43 minutes. Since we are in movie land the ones with speech we will call "The Talkies" #haha #hollywood
The contents of which cover flying from Manchester Airport on the Saturday having stayed in the Premier Inn, quite a posh modern one, and eating at their attached pub, nothing special but good for the Friday eve before flying and it avoided any unforeseen obstacles to getting on the plane, most relaxing. We took quite a few pictures of the takeoff over England before hitting the cloud and Soarin' through it (this is a reference to the mega ride experience in Epcot which was a 4D hit with one and all in our party, how to fly around the world in less that 80 minutes (well seconds maybe #haha) rather than Mister Verne's days. Our seats were over the right-hand wing and engines so a little noisy, Keef took his headphones which were far superior to the free Virgin Atlantic free ones. Watched 3 movies on the way out. The best of which was The House of Gucci (Lady GaGa is excellent) and Kenneth Branagh's Belfast a close second, it certainly passed the time as well as playing with / chatting to grandchildren over the seat tops, they were all in the row in front of us. Food also not bad and well designed with eco sentiments in mind. I guess if you are burning fuel at a rate of knots as an airline it's good to contribute in some small way #COP26
We landed and the least said about the rest of the night probably for the better, if you really wish to indulge them have a read of the LOWLIGHTs, I've warned you it wasn't a great time and boy were we all tired after 22 hours traveling. The kids had a bit of a melt down at the start of driving the new hire car but who can blame them being 5 and 1 a piece. I think the adults were probably close to it as well, but we are HELLINGERs and soldiered on.
So besides doing some shopping in the very convenient and hugely stocked Publix supermarket a stone's throw away up the road in the Berry Town centre area and lots of swimming in the Regal Palms complex with its lazy river, 5ft pool and paddling area Keef, Craig and Leanne tried out the "fast water slide" into the pool. Only Craig was brave enough to lie down whilst descending although I can vouch for it building up speed even if you were sitting on that last bend #fun Loved the Reggae playlist music that adorned the swimming complex, I could almost believe with the sun that I was back in Jamaica. We also went out for breakfast at the i-Hop, a pancake place, and Applebee's, a trad American bar / diner which did fab chicken dishes especially the Lime chicken and meltdown chocoholic puddings with ice cream. Overall, I would rate US ice-cream but not eat it in tub loads as sadly many Americans must appear to do whilst watching TV. Don't get me started on the quality of US TV! Both these establishments were on the Berry town centre site.
So, what else did we do in that 1st week. Got AT&T Sim cards, unlimited data, for Craig and my phone, Visited all 4 Disney parks for the first time. Ate a buffet lunch out at Ponderosa, a nostalgic visit inspired by Leanne's extended family visit over 20 years ago. I will always remember those brightly coloured sugary drinks and Edie's dark blue and bright red Jelly (or Jello as our Patriots call it) Addendum she didn't eat it after the 1st mouthful #notsurprising
Saw and recorded the magnificent 50th anniversary firework shows at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot, both late nights for the grandkids but they were great and loved them. I now know a lot more Disney "toons" than just let it go, Annie & I are determined to watch a few of the Disney's we don't know well, sorry we are old skool ...from Snow White probably only as far as Sleeping Beauty, one of my favourites is Dumbo. Bambi was I think the first movie I saw at the cinema as a kid when Mum took us.
We did 1 Magic Kingdom visit, 2 Animal Kingdom visits and 2 Epcot visits in that first week. At Animal Kingdom whilst collecting stickers for Edie's conservation book we visited Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Harambe Market, where later in the trip we saw the truly wonderful Lion King show in the theater just behind on the riverbank. Plus, the whole conservation area where animals are housed getting there via the old train. At this centre Granny, Edie & Grandpa joined the artwork class and drew Pula (the pig) from the Lion King, great fun. See our artwork BELOW. We saw various animals and fish which the kids loved. On those 2 Animal Kingdom visits visited mostly Oasis, Africa, Rafiki's Planet watch and bits of Discovery Island.
WEEK 2 - 8th to 14th August 2022
There are 738 images in a slideshow lasting 25 minutes followed by a video with speech lasting for 43 minutes.
Week 2 kicked off with our first visit to Disney Hollywood Studios, which seems to have been designed on a 1930s film set theme. Very classy, liked it here a lot, the Star Wars theme now they own Lucas has expanded massively from 1997 and their rides are enhanced, Tate was even quizzed by a stormtrooper, he didn't seem interested #haha The Mickey / Minnie / Goofy train ride was very classy and some of the shows were good. Due to thunder and lightning our 1st Indiana Jones show was wiped out, just too dangerous and because of the loud bangs Edie was not interested in a 2nd attempt although Keef & Annie did for old times' sake.
Lots of hats were tried on in the various shops and Minnie ears for Leanne and Edie. Street parades (nothing like Magic Kingdom) featured the Incredibles and others. We did a few trips to regal palms pool area this week as well as having a few meals out plus a splendid Planet Hollywood bonanza for our first visit there as well as a late night for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom and breakfast at the Rainforest café in Animal Kingdom, what a surprise that was, just amazing, only at Disney, with thunder and lightning inside the café on the half hour with real rain showers over you. #Amazing The restaurant also had a whole host of animatronic animals as well as giant fish tanks, the grandkids loved these.
We did a 2nd visit to Hollywood studios as well, getting to know our way around by now. Sadly the white knuckle ride themed on Aerosmith the band broke down just as Leanne and I were about to get near the front of the queue , Friday this week was a lazy one, but one we all picked up a bit of sun burn despite factor 50 sun tan lotion at waterpark Typhoon lagoon. Just shows how intense the sun is in Florida, 34-39c often and very humid. We also did our final Epcot visit this week and Edie had to say goodbye to her beloved Soarin' ride , she went on 5 times in total, it is a very clever 4D experience. It was also our final visit to Animal Kingdom, mostly spent in Asia area just across from the stage Dino land we had been in earlier in the week. Edie and I did the triceratops rid twice.
Want to see more then look its all here on the blog via picture slideshows etc.
Note we also visited Typhoon Lagoon, for which we don't have a site guide but it can be found here and Disney Springs which is included in the set of guides.
That's it for week 2
WEEK 3 - 15th to 21st August 2022
There are 461 images in a slideshow lasting 12 minutes followed by a video with speech lasting for 44 minutes.
Week 3 started with the last trio to Disney Hollywood Studios and the kids both dancing and singing along to the Frozen show, the male compare was great at ad lib, and very funny. Tuesday saw us finish our very enjoyable 14 days at the Disney parks with what was probably both our longest and most fulfilling day , it was Edie's 6th birthday, we started with a bit of present opening at 257 Bergamo followed by a very posh breakfast in the Royal Table restaurant within Magic Kingdom's Castle, Grandpa discussed Grits with the the suitably medieval attired waiter, he liked them with sugar, YUK! but why does that not surprise me, the gouda ones I had were superb. We then went to more shows and on more rides than we ever have and the wonderful "It's a small world" was included.
Wednesday we did a bit of shopping and all ate out at the Australian themed Outback restaurant, great grub cobber. Edie even went to the Sheila's. We had a family swim in the eve before tea. Thursday C&L & Co went to Universal studios and K & A had a chill day mostly eating, drinking and watching awful movies however the Meg Ryan / Hugh Jackman time travel romance from 2001 called Kate and Leopold wasn't bad.
Friday was a relaxed day with an early morning swim, our last, then packing and getting ready for the big trip home, you don't wanna know about the car dying on us as we left for the airport, but if you do read the LOWLIGHTS, Grr.
We finally managed the full Indiana Jones show, hooray. Used both ferry and monorail at Magic Kingdom. Edie could have had a go on the cable car at Hollywood studios , there and back but we just didn't find the time, sadly. The pilot of the river boat cruise was a hoot. Belle was so nice and Cirque Du Soleil back at Disney Springs on Thursday eve was possibly , no definitely, the best circus show G&G had ever seen.
Giant donuts and weird picture templates spring to mind, that’s it folks, take a look in more detail through the rest of the menu, I hope there is something to delight each and every one of you. Best KeefH Web Designs. x
To see more details of both Magic Kingdom (for Edie's spectacular 6th birthday) and Disney Springs for Cirque Du Soleil which we visited in Week 3 , that's it for week 3
REGAL PALMS RESORT
We stayed at 257 Bergamo drive for 3 weeks and used most of the available facilities bar the Spa and eating at the Grill bar, towel hire for the pool was $10 deposit returned when you gave them back and for that deposit you could return them as often as you like, soaking wet during a days swimming if you wanted to. Granny & Grandpa got Edie and Tate a lilo and rubber ring which made journeys around the lazy river a little more fun. On the last day I had to walk from Bergamo back to the office to check out because of our broken hire car but in general one drove everywhere, after all this is America #teehee The pool stuff in fairness was a little too far from where we were. There were minor issue with our stay in the Bergamo villa but nothing particularly serious, more niggles. If you want to read about those click HERE Overall we thought the accommodation and location were great.
Above are copies of the guides we were given, the housekeeping phone number was very useful, they got to know me after 3 weeks, indeed their manager did see my point of view when suggested they couldn't come until Tuesday in the last week #assertive
Here is a slideshow of Regal Palms resort and the wonderfully relaxing pool time we spent, enjoy
Tate loved the Regal Palms pool, especially the shallower baby pool bit where he could play, he has no fear of water and loved going around the lazy river on the Lilo but mostly in Mummy or Daddy's arms
We visited this park 3 times and saw the parade twice, well at least Edie and I did the second time, Tinkerbell and Chip & Dale were her favourites along with all the Princesses. We celebrated her 6th birthday there on our 3rd and final visit, starting with a fab breakfast in the Royal Table restaurant in the castle. Craig & Leanne had steak, I had old Gouda Grits, you gotta taste local food, so much better than the only time I've had Grits before. Edie's birthday cake was a chocolate mickey head and eats, yummy
Clearly stuff is included in the weeks 1-3 You Tube videos but I have combined at least the images here. There are 278 images lasting 7 minutes. The talkies are included elsewhere under weeks 1 thru 3. Thanks for looking, best KeefH Web Designs x
We visited this park 4 times and saw the Lion King Show in the Theatre in Africa.
Here are some official photographer pix of us all
There are 307 images lasting 15 minutes. The talkies are included elsewhere under weeks 1 thru 3. Thanks for looking, best KeefH Web Designs x
We visited this park 3 times and saw the spectacular Sonne et Lumiere fireworks show around the Lake, plus travelled on the wonderful rides Soarin' and Galaxy.
There are 330 images lasting 9 minutes. The talkies are included elsewhere under weeks 1 thru 3. Thanks for looking, best KeefH Web Designs x
DISNEY HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
We visited this park 3 times and went on the fab Mickey and Minnie train ride in Main Street. We also due to thunderstorms had to have 2 attempts to see the whole of the Indiana Jones re-enactment of stunts. Its wonderful and not much changed from 1997 only that those stunt men and women have now retired #tooold
There are 162 images lasting 6 minutes. The talkies are included elsewhere under weeks 1 thru 3. Thanks for looking, best KeefH Web Designs x
We missed out on this one (Aerosmith Rock & Roller) having used a Lightening Lane and queued a bit when it broke down (again apparently last time was for 14 days!!!) they refunded our pass, but it didn't restart during the time we were there that day, good job that in the "white knuckle" ride stakes we did eventually get on Guardians of the Galaxy ride at EPCOT
We went twice to Disney springs, I guess it is the mega replacement for what Paradise Island was back in the day as the entertainment element of Disney World Resorts offering. Disney springs is huge with many car parks, named after fruits, i.e., Lime, Watermelon, Orange etc. etc. All car parking is free. The first time we went we had a good look around, security is good on entry, all the typical posh shops and of course Disney & Co. which we did spend quite a bit of time in. Keef looked at buying Levi's, traditionally a cheap purchase in the States, but even with the 30% discount they were still way more expensive than the UK, must be the exchange rate or prices in the US have gone ballistic. The Lego shop was fun, Edie played with the available bricks to entertain the kids, Grandpa made a car #teehee We then avoided a mega downpour and eventually legged it over to Planet Hollywood for our pre booked table getting a little wet on route. What a fascinating restaurant. Reminded me of my fave Hard Rock café but with film memorabilia and some fab sing-a-longs. #magic Our second return was to watch Cirque Du Soleil, which was wonderful. You can park in the surface car park for free just in front of the purpose build big top. Disney don't do things by halves #haha
We had a day off when C&L and family visited Universal, it is located about an hour away from Davenport in what is basically south Orlando. They had a lovely day mostly in the Harry Potter area with Edie using her Hermione wand to make stuff "move", i'll try and find some images, they stopped for donuts on the way back, but as the kids were flagging didn't make it through to 9 pm for the fireworks which was an original intention. It as fun place, much changed I'm sure from our 1997 visit but ET is still there although massively updated.
Edie had great fun with her wand , now what exactly does "Expelliarmus" mean, well I'm so glad you asked Harry fans, here you go..... Expelliarmus is a disarming spell, and is used to knock the opponent's wand from their hand. It is commonly used in the dueling club of Hogwarts and in many of the Harry Potter movies. Although called the 'Disarming Charm', it is only used to take wands from your opponent, whereas other spells can be used for summoning or pushing away an object.
There is a very brief you tube video of Craig & Leanne's day out
We were lucky enough to be at Disney's world resort to celebrate their 50th anniversary which meant spectacular fireworks every evening at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot, on reflection we all agreed it was the Magic Kingdom ones that were the best which is to take nothing way from Epcot who used huge screens to coordinate Disney classic songs and screen time with the fireworks over the world lake. By fireworks down main street in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom just edged it for us it was , sorry to repeat the word, just MAGICAL!
Do hope these videos do it justice. It should be noted that each "performance" at both parks lasted about 20 minutes with a crescendo finale, our video has captured about 20 minutes combines across the 2, you will easily see which park is which, over the lake at Epcot and in front of the Castle at Magic Kingdom.
EATERIES AND SHOPPING
We went to very few shops apart from those inside Disney Parks for various souvenirs and gifts, Keef bought himself a NASA T-shirt inside EPCOT but for those outside we got SIM cards from AT&T, Food shopping from Publix, and we visited the old style US store Cracker Barrel and the Magicians Gift Store on the 192.
Restaurants we eat at or got take aways were in no particular order, i-Hop and Applebee's at Berry Town Centre , Ponderosa on the 192, McDonald's on the Disney World Resort Estate, Mexico and China in EPCOT, Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs, take away fish and chips from the English bar in Berry town centre, where I had a draft pint of old speckled hen whilst waiting, a great place run by a nice English guy from London who had been there for 14 years. Plus for breakfasts Rainforest café in Animal Kingdom and the Royal Table in the castle at Magic Kingdom, all very magical. I think thats it... oh C&L ate at a Donut place on the way back from Universal on the last Thursday. We also did up sandwiches etc. which we ate in the parks to save a bit of money but mostly in that heat and humidity it was drinks we needed, lots of iced water and Sprite , which worryingly cost about £4 for a small bottle.
Here is a short slideshow to capture those events
Chinese lunch at the Nine Dragons, China, Epcot, absolutely scummy
Final Applebee's meal. What a nice place and great food all just up the road at Berry Town Centre #ace
These are all provided via You Tube videos of both images and "talkie" videos, enjoy
Comparing Disney at the 50th Anniversary to the 25th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom Opening