The Dark Side is not so dark afterall….

Be Universal

  We had gone through the process of picking a hotel and looking over and over the food choices and now it was time to pack the minivan and drive down. I think that is the true torture of any vacation for us waking up early and driving 7 and a half hours to the Magical Destinations of Central Florida. We were heading down with my sister and child who was 6 which added a new dynamic of not tall enough to ride certain things to our trip. We were determined this would be a fun experience for the 7 of us.

We arrived at Cabana Bay just after noon. The older kids took the younger one out to check out the pool while we checked in. The lobby was retro 60’s with the cute little chairs and funny looking tables. It’s a very large lobby with lots of natural light. Walking around talking to people was Lucille Ball. That was refreshing and rather funny as she sounded very much like the real deal. Check in is the same as at Disney, you wait in a line to go to a desk and speak with a pleasant person to get your room keys and information. We were surprised as a guest we had to pay to park our car. We asked our attendant about that and she explained that at all Lowe’s properties they charge for parking so to keep it universal they charged at Universal. That was a hit to the wallet right off the bat.

All checked in we rounded up the rug rats and back to the minivan to get to our room. We had one of the family suites in the Tower. Perfect since the 5 year old liked to run and this way he wouldn’t be running into the street or down stairs without one of us. cabana bay family suiteThe view to the left is what greeted us as we walked in. It was amazing and fresh. It was indeed a very retro look. The kids ran through checking the beds, sliding the doors for the separation and the bathroom. We always have to check out the bathroom. Again surprising as there’s the toilet has it’s own area and door closing it off from the the dressing area and then the tub and a sink are in their own area with a door so in all theories three people could be in different stages of getting ready at the same time.

Everything was thrown into the rooms and beds were claimed and we were flying out to get our tickets and head to Islands of Adventure for the afternoon. This was another difference than Disney. Cabana Bay only has bus transportation to the entrance of City Walk while the other three resorts also offer water taxi. With Disney you rarely get lucky to walk up to the bus stop and get right onto the bus, but that’s exactly what we did. Woohooo we were lucky! We spent our first afternoon in Islands of Adventure. Spiderman had an ally in my nephew and I since I was riding with him while the teenagers and my sister rode the Hulk a few times in a row.

The lines moved fairly quickly and we were able to accomplish many of the popular rides before they closed at 8pm. We were able to get our pictures taken with Megatron and Bumble Bee. Many of the attractions have photo booths at the end of them as Disney and you can purchase them individually or purchase a Universal Photo Pass. Family treasures for forever. We ended our first night with Men in Black and then dinner at Mel’s Drive-In and a half viewing of their nightly spectacular.

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horror show

This was her happy place! Being chopped up 🙂

Something we found as our vacation rolled on. We weren’t dead on our feet exhausted as we moved through the two parks and City Walk. We attended shows and attractions all seemed to have good air conditioned que lines. As I mentioned in part one I have a drama major and we experienced the Horror Makeup Show more than once. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was AMAZING! But fair warning this is the most crowded area of the parks especially since the opening in both parks. The best drink also occurs in this area. BUTTER BEER!!! You can get it in a plastic cup (think red solo cup) or you can spend a little more and purchase an actual mug which can be refilled though not at a discounted price. This drink is better than any cola product you can give your child to help get them over the I didn’t get a nap and am getting crabby hump. A few sips and the nephew was wand fighting ready.

We made many happy memories as a family that we still talk about a year after the original vacation. The one that tends to send the teenagers into giggles is the fountain story. We were waiting for The Eight Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show to start so were out in front of it watching  the Mystic Fountain. This is an ingenious little time taker as the fountain spouts knowledge and jokes and occasionally squirts the smaller patrons standing to close. Well the boy (15 year old) decided to get a little feisty and made a smart comment and the fountain squirted at him and missed. Well the boy being a teenager says as we’re starting to head into the show ” HAHA You missed”. These words would later get him DiNozzo’ed in the back of the head, because the fountain proceeds to unleash all of it’s water in a huge spray and says “Teenager I never miss!” No he missed the teenager and drenched me!! Of course this is when the DiNozzo happened as the boy was doubled over in laughter along with the other kids. It is funny and we laugh.. Just be forwarned 🙂

Thank you for following the three part series!!!

DSCF9246Amanda Casey Travel Specialist

Planning Magical Vacations one guest at a time.

https://www.facebook.com/MagicalVacationsByAmanda

  404-414-6213

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