Trip Report Orlando April 2013.

We had a glorious time…

From Brian Emery
Posted April 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM
This year we flew out on a late night flight instead of a morning flight. So on Friday night April 12th, we took an 8:15 PM flight and landed in Orlando at 11:15 PM. This is a great time to travel to Orlando’s -MCO airport. It was mostly empty, only a few flight landing and the baggage are was not congested. Plus there was no line at the rental cars queue.

I grabbed my rental car; I picked out a Buick Lacrosse 2013 with 1,200 miles on it. It ran really well, plenty of power with 280 horses, V6 and leather seats. Also had a lot of technology, driver’s seat moved back automatically for exciting the car, rear view camera, auto dim mirrors plus much more. Now at 12:15 midnight, we were off to the resort. We checked into the
Sheraton Vistana Resort on RT 535 in Lake Buena Vista at about 1:00 AM. Unpacked and off to bed at 1:45 AM.

Slept in the next day which was Saturday April 13th. Got up, grabbed some bagels from Panera and coffee from Starbucks. Then off to my favorite grocery store, Publix. We loaded up on supplies for the room. The room has a full kitchen, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, washer dryer and balcony. Then we just spent the afternoon by the pool in the 85 degree Florida sun.

Sunday April 14th – Headed out to Siesta Key Beach, which is about a 2 hour drive from Orlando. We got there in the afternoon about 1:00 pm. Had some problems trying to park. Finally way down the main road we found a small lot for $15 of a building that was for sale. Siesta Key Beach was awesome. White sand and turquois water with small waves. I loved it! After leaving the beach about 4:30 PM, we headed Bradenton, FL for a visit to see my parents. Went to dinner with them, got back to the Sheraton at 10:00 PM.

Monday April 15th – Discovery Cove Day. This is our 4th time visiting Discovery Cove. This adventure is always great. We love this unique place. We also did the underwater sea adventure. This is where you put on a helmet and go underwater to 20 minutes with divers.

Tuesday April 16th - Took a resort day. Just some time to rest the old bones. We ended up going to the Premium Outlets for shopping and then headed down to Downtown Disney. We wanted to go on the Characters in Flight but as usual it was closed due to high winds. We stopped at Splits Ville. I was impressed at this place. 30 bowling lanes, pool, several bars and the food is pretty damn good. Sushi at the bowling alley, different and surprisingly good.

Wednesday April 17th – Headed to Tampa Busch Gardens. This park is esthetically beautiful. We have not been here in a few years and I forgot how much I like this park. We hit all the coaster and rides, saw an afternoon show called Let’s Get Loud – This is a live singing and salsa dancing show. Very enjoyable while taking a rest from the sun. Saw many animals also. And the new coaster, Cheetah Hunt is a nice fun long coaster. Montu is one of my all-time favorite rides. Busch Gardens has it all if you ask me and should be mentioned on TPI more often. Plus we had a Turkey leg, pretzel and Beer. What a great day.

Thursday April 18th – Aquatica Water Park. My favorite water park of all time. That rapid river is still so amazing to me. I love going around, over and over and over and over…. Plus the slides are great. The park was a little busy but that is to be expected on a hot day. A water park is a must for me on vacation.

Friday April 19th – Spent some time in the resort and then headed to Downtown Disney. Hit a few stores for some last minute souvenirs. Checked the Big Balloon Characters in Flight which was down again so maybe next year we will finally get to go up it. Friday night packed to go home. Then we decided to go back Downtown Disney and see a movie at the AMC Dinner Theater. It was different ordering a chicken sandwich and having it delivered to you while watching a movie.

Saturday Morning up at 5:30 AM and off to MCO for our return home flight.

Summary: April 12th to April 20th in Orlando.
Hotel – Sheraton Vistana Resort

Rental Car – Buick Lacrosse

Parks – Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Siesta Key Beach

Restaurants – Bahama Breeze, Benihana, Carrabba's, Buffalo Wild Wings. Outback Steakhouse

Weather – Average 88 degrees.

From Rob Pastor
Posted April 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM
Good report. We've generally visited this same time of year and found the weather to be usually beautiful, with not much rain, and the park's crowds are fairly manageable. It's a win win time for tourists if they can schedule it.

From William Clark
Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:05 PM
Glad to hear you had a great time here. Especially glad to hear you went to Busch Gardens. Excellent choice and in my humble opinion the second best park in Florida. You are indeed absolutely right that this fine park deserves more coverage. Thanks for the report.

From Brian Emery
Posted April 26, 2013 at 6:35 AM
Thanks Rob and William… I am glad you had a chance to read my dribble. These Trip reports do take some time to compile and recall what the heck you did on your vacation.

I really do think Busch is a forgotten park, or at least not mentioned here too often. I cannot state how nice it was there…. So much foliage and fantastic rides. I met a guy at the pool in the resort that went there twice on his 10 days in Orlando because he also liked it there so much…

Plus we bought a package deal of tickets, Discovery Cove, Sea World, Busch and Aquatica. You get Discover Cove for 1 day, and the other parks for 14 consecutive days with the first day of use.

From TH Creative
Posted April 26, 2013 at 6:39 AM
Great report Brian. Don't be a stranger. Come on back to Orlando.

See ya real soon!

From Matt Babiak
Posted April 28, 2013 at 6:31 AM
William said:
Especially glad to hear you went to Busch Gardens. Excellent choice and in my humble opinion the second best park in Florida

Is that above Universal or Disney? Either way it's wrong.

From William Clark
Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM
Busch Gardens is by far and away the better park than either of Universals. In fact it blows them away. Not even close. Busch Gardens is a brilliant gem of a theme park. I rank Magic Kingdom as the best. Then Busch Gardens and Epcot tied for second. Then Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Seaworld Orlando then Universal. As I said in my post this is my own opinion. You of course are welcome to yours.

From Brian Emery
Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:41 AM
Hey Matt – I am just wondering the last time you visited Busch Gardens in Tampa was?

Universal IOA is my favorite park, but Busch Gardens is also a great place to visit. Many coasters, Animal attractions, free shows, area for small children’s attraction and MONTU…

I believe if Busch Gardens was in the heart of Orlando, it would be ranked much higher and be talked about much more. Just an opinion of course but it all depends on what you like in a park.

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