During our trip to Florida for our 10th anniversary, throughout the day I took notes on my DROID smartphone in an email draft to myself so we could remember everything we did. At the end of the day, I emailed the notes to myself and compiled them all in a Google Doc into one big Florida trip journal. It wasn’t until a few weeks after the trip that I actually typed these recaps in full detail. I will share them with you one day at a time so you, the reader, can experience them at the same pace we did. I hope you enjoy reading about our trip. We had the time of our lives!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Flight to Florida & Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel
We started planning for this trip exactly a year before it started. We spent days researching all the things we wanted to do like tours, restaurants, park hours and more. We tirelessly coordinated expected park hours and timings to get the most out of the vacation. Finally, it was time to go!
Andrew’s parents picked us up at our house in Gilbert at 4:30am and took us to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for our 7:00am flight to Atlanta. We didn’t have much trouble getting our bags checked because we had checked in online with Delta Airlines before we left. We even used our DROID smartphones to get through security and get on the plane, using the QR that was sent to us by text from Delta. It was the first time Andrew had ever used the paperless boarding process.
Walking Path to Universal Studios from the Royal Pacific Resort
When we got to the airport in Atlanta, we grabbed a bit of lunch. I opted for a snack at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels while Andrew snagged some Chick-Fil-A. They didn’t exactly have any healthy options to choose from. Our layover was fairly short, only about 30 minutes, and we were back on our way.
On the second leg of the flight from Atlanta to Orlando, I sat in the center seat and struck up a conversation with the guy in the aisle seat. (Andrew usually sits in the window seat when we fly.) The guy was Shawn Finney, an assistant basketball coach at the University of Central Florida. We had some interesting conversations during that flight, about basketball, leadership and family history. He told me that a wise man once advised him, “I don’t manage my people, I lead them.” What great advice! We finished out the flight by doing a crossword puzzle together on his iPad2.
Once in Orlando, Andrew and I met up with our Towncar driver Raul from Destination MCO Orlando. The company sent me a text message confirming the Towncar and gave me the name and location of the driver so we could find him. We were pleasantly surprised at the space inside the Lincoln Towncar, and had a very comfortable ride to Universal Studios.
Room 3617 at Universal's Royal Pacific Resort
We arrived at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the check-in went smooth. We were given room 3617, which is in Tower 3 on the 6th floor. The concierge was on the 7th floor, however; so every time we wanted to use our club concierge keys we had to take the elevator up one floor to go grab a snack. That was awfully annoying throughout our 2-night stay.
Downstairs in the lobby, we returned to purchase 2-day 2-park tickets for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Andrew accidentally left his credit card at the ticket desk while we walked to CityWalk for some dinner. The walk was fairly short at about half a mile, and took us about 10 minutes or so. It followed the route of the water taxi, and walking was always faster.
Once at CityWalk, we ate dinner at Pastamore. Andrew opted for the Risotto & Chicken, and Jessica had really bad Chicken Parmesan ($42). While paying for dinner, Andrew realized he no longer had his credit card. I called the ticket desk back at Royal Pacific and they confirmed they had the card, so Andrew calmed down a bit and we stayed in CityWalk a few minutes to go shopping at the Universal Store. I picked up a Chocolate Frog from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which ended up having a Ravenclaw card inside. We then made our way back to the resort where Andrew breathed a sigh of relief once he had his credit card back in his hand.
After dinner we went swimming at the Royal Pacific. The pool was huge and pretty much empty. We had the run of the whole place to ourselves, sans a few lifeguards who were required to watch us. Andrew even came into the water for a couple of minutes. I ran through their kids play area which had a pirate ship with water pouring out random places in heavy sheets. The first one I ran through was a decent temperature. The second one, however, was freezing cold. I learned quickly to test the temperature of the various water attractions before running through them!
We went back into the resort and up to the 7th floor concierge for dessert. We opted for cookies and a little crème brûlée. We ordered room service breakfast for the following morning because we wanted to leave the hotel before the restaurants opened, and then hit the sack.
Andrew’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Finally getting to the room in Orlando
Jessica’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Swimming in the pool at the Royal Pacific
Did you know? There’s a lot more to this story!
Flight to Florida & Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios & Arriving at Walt Disney World
Visiting the Magic Kingdom & The Richard Petty Experience
Water Sports & The California Grille
Hollywood Studios, Star Tours & Toy Story Midway Mania
Epcot & Around the World Segway Tour at the World Showcase
Our 10th Wedding Anniversary
Animal Kingdom, Mini Golf & The Yachtsman Steakhouse
Our Final Day at Disney & our Private Illuminations Cruise
The Missing Towncar & Our Flight to Phoenix
Flickr Photo Collection of Our 10th Anniversary Trip to Florida
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See my Richard Petty Ride Along Experience Video