Photo Gallery

To finish up my posts about my trip, I thought I’d add a gallery of some of the hundreds of photos I took while on the trip. I’m no expert photography by a long shot, so these are your standard tourist point&shoot photos but I think they’ll still fire up the wanderlust.

(Click on a photo to bring up the slideshow)

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We were so lucky during our time in Orlando, because the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival started during our last day in Orlando. I had been to this event before, and it’s really awesome. The World Showcase at Epcot hosts dozens of carts where you can sample food and beverages from that country. Entry to the food and wine festival is included in your park ticket, but you do have to pay for the samples (between $3-$6usd generally).

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Halloween starts early at Disney World. Even though we were visiting in September, Magic Kingdom was already hosting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party a few nights a week. I was very excited to go to the party, because I was lucky enough to go twice when I was working at Magic Kingdom back in 2011.

Because we would have until Midnight at Magic Kingdom with our party ticket, we started the day off at Hollywood Studios.

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Disney’s Art of Animation

After our 4 nights staying on site at Universal Orlando at the Hard Rock Hotel, it was time to check out and head to our hotel for the second part of our time in Orlando – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

The Art of Animation resort was Disney’s newest resort and falls under their ‘value’ resort category (although, more expensive than the other value resorts).

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Busch Gardens

When we booked our vacation package through Universal, we also booked tickets to Busch Gardens in Tampa. Busch Gardens is about 1 and a half hours away from Orlando, but when you pre-purchase a ticket, you can book in on a complimentary shuttle to the park which picks you up from Universal Studios. This was super handy for us staying at Hard Rock Hotel.

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Universal Studios

Apart from Diagon Alley, Universal Studios had added another new part to the park since the last time I visited – Springfield! As a big Simpsons fan, I was pretty excited to see this as well. Springfield was pretty cool – Krusty Burger, Lard Lad Donuts, Moe’s. Dad and I stopped in at Moe’s – he had a Duff Beer and I had a Flaming Moe’s. It was pretty cool.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Diagon Alley was probably the thing I was most excited about on this trip! I had been following the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion since it was announced, and after visiting Hogsmeade/Hogwarts in 2011 and I was so excited to go back and see Diagon Alley!

The package deal that we had for Universal Studios included Early Access to Diagon Alley, as well as breakfast at The Leaky Couldron and The Three Broomsticks. Continue reading

Heading to Orlando

Our final morning in NYC was pretty sad – saying goodbye to the girls I had become quite close with was hard!

Sarah and Andrew were also heading to Orlando after our tour, and although we were flying on different airlines, our flights were at the same time from the same airport – Newark – so we decided to get a car from the hotel and split the price. Because a car had a fixed price, we figured it would work out cheaper than a taxi because Newark is pretty far – as in, it’s in another State – New Jersey.

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Changes..

So a quick update – last week I found out from Keri that she was no longer able to come on the trip. So that kind of sucked. Luckily, being on a Contiki, it’s really no big deal to go alone – 90% of travellers on Contiki travel solo and I’ve already gotten to know quite a few people on the tour on our Facebook group. I just hope that I’m roomed up with someone that I end up getting along with – nothing worse than having to share a room with someone you don’t like (especially when it comes to sharing a bathroom), so fingers crossed it all works out okay.

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Orlando Magic

Keri and I have finally managed to book our Orlando portion of our trip – after a mission to get it all done!

We are going to be staying at the Hard Rock Hotel for 4 nights – taking advantage of the new Harry Potter package. This includes a 3 day park-hopper ticket (although we only plan to visit for two days), along with breakfast at the Three Broomsticks and the new Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.

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