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Magical Florida

My holiday to Florida was an unforgettable experience that I will treasure forever.

We flew with Virgin Holidays who right from the airport had everything sorted for us. What an organised company! They made the usual stressful procedure of travelling really easy, which was just great and allowed us to enjoy our holiday right from the start. We arrived at our hotel “The Regal Sun Hotel” in Downtown Disney area and checking in was quicker than I’d expected. The first impression of the hotel was “WOW” very elegant and well kept. However, we found our rooms as they were shown in the brochure, but they were grubby and in need a good facelift. The rooms were dark and had a mustard colour on the walls which made them look dingy. The view made up for this though as we had a tower room and could see across what seemed like the whole state!

After a good night’s sleep, we were up early and ready for some serious fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I hadn’t been before and the park made a really good impression on me. It really was fabulous. This park is home to the infamous Tower of Terror and Aerosmith Rocking Rollercoaster. These rides are not for the faint hearted, believe me, but you just cannot stop going on them, absolutely brilliant. We loved the Toy Story interactive game. So much fun, really original you got to compete against each other! The queues for this are ridiculously long though as it’s so popular so be prepared to wait for a very long time! There is a parade of High School Musical where the cast dancers get all the children up to join then in the production and the look on the kids faces was just magical. If you think you’re the next big thing, you can even try your hand at American Idol. Take an audition and you could be on stage in front of an audience. I didn’t of course, I would have just embarrassed myself! Eating in all the Disney parks can get quite expensive so try and do the Disney dining plan or maybe take your own food. I used to have a Cherry Danish and a coffee which was just delicious but no good on the figure!

Epcot was brilliant. Soaring must the best ride ever that exists. You actually feel like you are flying, the smells of the sea and the forest are just brilliant, the queues are very long and it took us an hour to get on. If you go to Epcot then definitely go on this ride first and if you can get the Fast Pass it is worth the extra to get on the rides that little bit quicker and bypass some of the queue. Test Track was really good again long queues. The Nemo ride was again really good for the little ones but it is quite tacky for Disney. World Showcase was lovely and it gives you a taste of all the different countries such as the England, China and Germany and you can taste foods from around the world, such as fish n chips in England and even frogs legs from France! Fireworks on the evening are a must see. They were spectacular.

Magic Kingdom was fantastic, I felt as though I was a little girl again…..We even managed to get on the Peter Pan Ride this visit. I loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and Thunder Mountain. The most exciting thing was that we actually saw the shuttle which went to the moon, this was really cool.

Animal Kingdom, was a nice change from the other loud, bustling parks. Although there’s still a lot of walking involved, it was really nice to wander around the picturesque parts, and a lot of it was in the shade so it was a slight bit cooler. This park seemed a lot quieter and offered something fresh from all of the others. The range of animals they have is really impressive too. And the one big ride, Expedition Everest was really good, like you were actually on an adventure. It has a nice twist or two too to make it unique.

I spent a night at the Hard Rock Hotel in Universal Studios and it was heaven on earth. The hotel was unbelievably and we were treated like a million dollars. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The ice-cream parlour and coffee shop is a must when you visit here as the ice-cream cones are amazingly huge and taste out of this world. Starbucks coffee was very reasonable and cheaper than the hotel Regal Sun that we were staying in. The pool was very clean and it had an under water music system so you can hear the fabulous music whilst swimming and the water is actually warm. The transportation to Universal City Walk was a five minute boat ride which was always on time.

Universal City Walk was very good and had a good variety to choose from, but was not as good as Downtown Disney. Universal City Walk on a positive note, did have more variety of well know out lets such as Star Bucks and burger king.

When you are sick of eating burgers and rubbish you have to go to the Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney. This place is gorgeous. My daughter and I ate here nearly every night because there was so much choice and a wide variety of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, yogurts, fruit salads and the coleslaw is beautiful and it isn’t expensive.

We loved Universal Islands of Adventure, but I was a little disappointed that since my last visit nine years ago there was nothing new. Some parts are beginning to look very worn out, though I’ve heard they have big plans for a new area of park based on Harry Potter, which I wish was built already. It wasn’t as busy as I remember it being which was a bonus. We went in at nine o’clock in the morning as it closed at five o’clock in the afternoon so we wanted to make the most of it but when we did arrive, the shops inside weren’t open yet, which was a little disappointing. I loved Universal more than Disney on my last visit but I think this time Disney got my vote.

Universal Studios was a lot better than Universal Islands of Adventure and had a couple of new attractions to freshen it up. We loved the Simpson’s ride and they were building the Rip Ride Rockit which looked like it was going to be a hit. All the shops were open, however staff in the shops were pretty miserable and quite rude, not like Disney. The best ride in Universal Studios was definitely The Mummy, we went on this again and again and it was just great. It was even fun queueing because everything was themed as though we were on an expedition in a pyramid.

My overall opinion of our holiday to Florida is that I need to go back as soon as I can. We loved every minute of it and can’t wait to return.

Julie

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