Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby Hilltopper39 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:13 am

Mexico, my favorite Epcot pavilion. Maybe my favorite place inside a Walt Disney World theme park. I’m sure you’ve noticed they all relate to booze. But aside from the booze, the atmosphere is really nice. And there’s a ride!


Same, I love the Mexico pavilion. I've yet to eat at the new restaurant on the water but no trip to EPCOT is complete for me without a margarita and a ride on the Donald Duck Boat Ride (as my kids refer to it).

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby ytterbiumanalyst » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:55 pm

Good to know about Be Our Guest, as that's one I'm interested in when we go there.

Gotta have fun with hats at a theme park. :lol:
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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby bert425 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:19 pm

continuing a fantastic trip report, with some truly wonderful pictures.

I had no idea Pirates even took a picture, and yeah, that's a weird place to put the camera (tho I do wonder what the woman in the front row is shielding her young boy from! PIRATES!!!???

and yeah, you got the crap room at Be Our Guest. . but at least the rose napkin is still cool?

great report.
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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby Director_Guy » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:42 am

Canobie Coaster wrote:That Pirates photo. :lol: I always find the worst photos are on shooters when everyone is hyper focused.

Great report!


Haha! A great point. I've started to pose for those. Mostly mean mugging.



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Hilltopper39 wrote:
Same, I love the Mexico pavilion. I've yet to eat at the new restaurant on the water but no trip to EPCOT is complete for me without a margarita and a ride on the Donald Duck Boat Ride (as my kids refer to it).


I have eaten at the one outside, and it was fairly decent. Part of the reason I haven't eaten at the restaurant on the inside is because I hear the food isn't that great, despite being in a prime location, and I live in a city that has really great Mexican food. If anyone here says they love it I will definitely give it a try next time.


ytterbiumanalyst wrote:Good to know about Be Our Guest, as that's one I'm interested in when we go there.

Gotta have fun with hats at a theme park. :lol:


The atmosphere is very nice (as long as you're in the right room, but the food is merely fine. I'd say worth a dine at least once per life.



bert425 wrote:continuing a fantastic trip report, with some truly wonderful pictures.

I had no idea Pirates even took a picture, and yeah, that's a weird place to put the camera (tho I do wonder what the woman in the front row is shielding her young boy from! PIRATES!!!???

and yeah, you got the crap room at Be Our Guest. . but at least the rose napkin is still cool?

great report.


Thanks! I think they added the picture recently, within the last 2 years.

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby bigboy » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:09 pm

This TR is a great reminder of how much fun I've had adulating at WDW. I love hitting the parks with the kid, but my wife and I had a blast on an adults only trip 2 years ago even if we did have a little guilt at first about leaving our daughter behind.

Your thoughts on Magic Kingdom versus Disneyland are right on. Both are great on their own, but Disneyland just has something else to it. I have people that know I've been to both ask me which one I prefer and it's such a tough question to answer and articulate.

Can't wait to see the rest of your recap!

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby Director_Guy » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:46 pm

bigboy wrote:This TR is a great reminder of how much fun I've had adulating at WDW. I love hitting the parks with the kid, but my wife and I had a blast on an adults only trip 2 years ago even if we did have a little guilt at first about leaving our daughter behind.

Your thoughts on Magic Kingdom versus Disneyland are right on. Both are great on their own, but Disneyland just has something else to it. I have people that know I've been to both ask me which one I prefer and it's such a tough question to answer and articulate.

Can't wait to see the rest of your recap!


There's an unfortunate stigma (probably not here, but in the real world) that the Disney parks are made exclusively for children, but I've done the parks as both child and adult and find them more enjoyable as an adult! No need to feel guilt about leaving the kid behind, I'm sure she will enjoy future trips.

MK vs Disneyland, I will always tell people there are more attractions in Disneyland than Disney World. Of course, the real answer is much more nuanced than that (especially when you get into what the definition of "attraction" is), but that fact seems to make them understand, at least without a complete dissertation. You're right, it's hard to get across.

I'll have more of my trip soon. Real life got a bit in the way, but things should be rolling soon.

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Chapter IV - Better Butter Beer

Postby Director_Guy » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:59 pm

Chapter IV - Better Butter Beer


Today’s good morning “Jambo” sounded a little less enthusiastic than usual. It wasn’t for a lack of interest, but I could tell the early mornings were starting to get to our crew. I let them know that this would be the last day we needed an early arrival.

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The reason I got everyone of bed so early was because we were going to tackle both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and we only had this one day to do it. The crowd projections were on our side, but I knew there’d be a lot to cover.

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Everyone just needs a nice Butterbeer pick-me-up.

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And our first stop was indeed the Wizarding World. We rushed to Escape from Gringotts and made it through with nearly zero wait!

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I must say I enjoy this ride, but, like many Universal experiences, the queue is better than the actual ride. I’m know much has been said about their over reliance of screens and projections, so I will spare you my thoughts (as you probably know what they are), but I’d like to add another issue I have with this ride.

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It’s clear to me that whoever directed the actors did so very poorly. The acting from Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley and Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix LeStrange are stilted at best. Gleeson gives a completely flat and un-whimsical performance, seemingly because it was, like, their second take and it’s shot in a way he may not be comfortable with. Carter has the most glaring issue, to me. There’s a point where it seems like she forgets her line or at least misses her cue.

Am I crazy? Check out a video of the ride:

https://youtu.be/DJHfF2udZv8?t=180

It all seems awkward and unrehearsed. Maybe they only had the actors for a very limited time.




After a deposit at the wizard bank, some of us were feeling a bit peckish and decided to drop in for some brekky at The Three Broomsticks.
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Megan tried the hot butterbeer for the first time.
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We now both agree that this is the preferred form of butterbeer. Liquid form, that is; the ice cream is superior. It’s so damn sweet, I love it. Speaking of, does anyone know if they changed the butterbeer recipe since around 2011? I remembered it being a lot sweeter! It’s still cloyingly sugary, but not enough for my big ol’ sweet tooth.

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We enjoyed our nosh and continued exploring the land.

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I love the detail here. We haven’t had any chance to check out what I affectionately call WestPot, at Universal Studios Hollywood (we usually only go to the park for Halloween Horror Nights, and it has yet to open for that). I was able to visit the original in 2011 and Diagon Alley once before, in 2015, and it’s my favorite theme park land to date. I am a big Harry Potter fan, but I think I’m a bigger theme park fan and the land itself satisfies all of my requirements. So many details to uncover, so many sounds and smells and tastes to take in. It’s really wonderful.

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I do have some issues with it, of course. For one, I mentioned earlier, the ride leaves some things to be desired. More built out environments instead of reliance on screens would be great. They have cool animatronics in the queue! Why not the ride?

But, the biggest issue I have is it’s whole premise. You are a muggle visiting the Wizarding World. Excuse me? Disregard the breaking of the source material’s continuity, nobody who reads or watches Harry Potter wants to be a Muggle. It makes less sense too that we are buying wands and other magical things that wouldn’t work for us if we were Muggles. It’s a really messy premise they have set up here. Why not simply just let us be wizards and witches?

There’s also a similarly weird concept where the characters and Team Members of the land will ask if you go to Hogwarts and what house to which you belong, despite myself having an obviously not English accent and being 30.

My house is Gryffindor, by the way, and Slytherin can stuff it!

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We offered no time to explore the rest of the park and hopped right aboard the Hogwarts Express.

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This ride is great, I have no real issues with it, either. Especially since, apparently, they can fit ten of us in a single compartment!
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This picture is clearly mid-Jambo.

We hopped of the train and dove right into Forbidden Journey.
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Great ride! Still too much reliance on screens, but a great experience that combines a lot of techniques. Love it.

I really should just go to WestPot. I don’t have to fly 2,000 miles away to ride this, why do I?!

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It took me so long to realize that this is the Gryffindor common room! The switchbacks kind of mess with the illusion of it. And all the people.

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Austin is just impressed that the man in the back can magically drink from his cup without his hands! Wooooooww!

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After a very Harry morning, we continued on to Jurassic Park.
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With a few exceptions, this ride is quite superior to the Hollywood version! The lush greenery is enough to make me say so. It’s much more immersive than seeing the Frankenstein parking lot behind a brachiosaurus. Points I would give Hollywood over Orlando: The T-Rex head you see before the drop.

That, of course, is irrelevant now due to the Jurassic World conversion.

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Megan and Austin insisted on staying dry.

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Kong was new for everyone. I must say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I kind of hate the Hollywood version where Peter Jackson tells you to put on your 3D glasses and then you have to hang onto them for another 40 minutes. This one was enjoyable. Had some great practical effects mixed in. I was very surprised to see the driver on the vehicle was fake.

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And this thing was one of the best animatronics I’ve ever seen. It was so believable in its movements and it had a real “goopiness” to it. It could have been on set in a movie, it looked so good. Yes, I know this ride has a giant animatronic Kong, but this one is the one that wowed me.

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I’m not sure what Brian and Vanessa were saying here. I can only assume they were asking for change.

Around this time I was getting a little nervous. The crowds had started to pick up. Wait times were getting longer and longer and my party grew hungry. We stopped at the closest place to eat, which was in Jurassic Park. I wanted people to eat something nice in CityWalk, but we were trapped in the back of the park and I didn’t want to interrupt the circuit.

We finished eating and hit up Spiderman and Hulk. While walking past, those who fear no water hopped onto the Popeye rapid ride. Myself and a few others passed on this opportunity.

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Natalie, would you like to go with them and have water in your socks all night?
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“$@%& that!”

Once we finished the Islands of Adventure loop, a handful of folks, who planned for a second day at Universal, went back to Jambo house to rest.

As for those who remained, we hit the Studios park. Mummy and Men in Black, back to back.

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There was a parade going through…
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Jen noticed that Squidward was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.
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The sourpus face really sells how uncomfortable this must have been.

I wouldn’t let anyone leave without going for a bike ride with E.T
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Oh man, this is the nostalgic ride of my youth. I never got why Peter Pan has a crazy long line, but if people feel about Pan how I feel about E.T., then I totally get it.

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I’m endlessly bummed that we have a crappy version Revenge of the Mummy over this.

The sun began going down and we knew it was time for our last rides.
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I suggested Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit, but those who weren’t too interested wanted to get one last look at Diagon Alley and spend time in the bank vaults of Gringotts.

DJ, Vanessa, and I hopped in line for HRRR and had an amazing night time ride. It was probably the best ride I’ve had on it, it didn’t even feel rough. When we got off, Dj and Vanessa wanted to ride again, and I feel bad, but I told them we should meet our friends, who were probably already off Gringotts.

But it was minutes until closing…

Could we make it to ride Gringotts one last time? We ran to Diagon Alley. Well, more like we theme park ran, which is running while making your upper body look like its just walking.

We made it with seconds to spare! I threw my camera in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo and we escaped from Gringotts! After our ride, our friends were waiting, surprised to see us walking out of the exit.

That’s right guys, we got a HRRR ride AND a final Gringotts. Okay, I need to sit down, I’m out of breath.

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I limped my way back to the rideshare pickup.. Three days of theme parking during all daylight hours had finally caught up to me.

The next day would have a later start, but definitely more walking…

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby jlp94 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:04 pm

Fun read! Thanks for sharing some of the things I have to look forward to later this month :b
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Chapter V - Self Induced Dehydration and Schnitzel

Postby Director_Guy » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:33 pm

Chapter V - Self-Induced Dehydration and Schnitzel

There are many benefits to staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The animals, of course, but also the access to stellar food, a magnificent lobby, and large carts of plasticised feces for your close examination while you wait for a bus.

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Yes, and only later do you realize these are the same bowls they use in the restaurants.

Meg and I struck out early this day, leaving our exhausted crew behind.

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We had FastPass reservations early on for anyone who wanted them, but most decided they’d have a nice sleep in and meet us for lunch. It actually wasn't that early, this time, it was like 11 o’clock.

But Meg and I couldn’t wait, knowing that Walt Disney World was right outside our door.

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But it turned out to be a bust! What we thought would be a nice leg up on the day by heading out a bit early turned into us being stuck on Mission: SPACE for far too long.

I’m not really a fan of being trapped in this ride vehicle, so we made the best out of it while annoying our other two riders by pressing every button!
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“Meg angry!”

We were finally pulled out of the Mission: SPACE coffin and beelined it straight to Mexico for recovery.

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Ahh, that’s the stuff.

We enjoyed our margaritas… and another… and met with our friends who had arrived at the park: DJ, Jackie, Mikey, Natalie, Austin, and Jen. They too got margaritas and thus began our day drinking around the world.



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DJ with Tajín in his beard.

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DJ realizing that’s why I took the last picture.

Starting so heavily in Mexico, “uh-oh” you say. Well, we had a big lunch planned, so this'll all soak right up, right? Right?

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But before lunch, we climbed aboard a boat and toured the Arendelle pavilion.

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I was a big fan of Maelstrom and very sad when it went away. The Frozen ride, despite me not liking the movie very much, was great! The effects and environments all looked wonderful. That Olaf animatronic blew me away when I saw him walk over to us. That was nuts. Now I have another reason to be upset at Disney. They keep taking away favorite rides and replacing them with IP related attractions and, dammit, they’re actually good. I miss the days where I could complain about a classic replaced with crap when it goes under new management.

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Jackie, seen here getting reprimanded for the unforgivable crime of spilling beer.

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Lunch time had arrived.

ImageNo, Jen! In the building behind you!

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Biergarten for lunch!

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Here’s the reason DJ insisted on going to Biergarten.

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I liked it. The atmosphere was very nice. The gentlemen performing for the crowd killed it. During the show, Mikey and Jackie got up to dance.

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The food was just okay, in my book. I did feel very full afterward, but unsatisfied with what I ate. I don’t see myself returning to Biergarten any time soon, despite having a good time. The food is not worth it.

While we were fattening ourselves up, a few other people showed up at the park.

Nick hopped aboard Not-Maelstrom as the only lone adult man on the boat…
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And we discovered Brian and Vanessa (not pictured, whoops!) had arrived, too!
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They were just in time to continue our tour around World Showcase.


We stopped for a moment in America to try these drool worthy cups of chocolate:
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Wow is all I can say. These count for drinking around the world, right?

Things got serious once we hit Japan.

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Our bellies were full on schnitzel and we needed to drown it with some alcohol.
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And thus began DJ’s Wine Quest.
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“Wine Quest!”
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“WINE QUEST!!”

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Our quest move us on into Morocco.
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Oh my god, look out to the right!


Morocco is a beautiful pavilion. I love walking around through it and seeing all the shops. There is texture everywhere you look. This pavilion is worth walking all the way around World Showcase for. That’s not to say the booze along the way isn’t worth it!

Ah, booze. Right! So far I barely feel a tingle. Let’s stop in and grab something…
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There we go. And now to continue calmly around the lake.

Wait, what’s… happen… hap… happening happening…. happening… Do you hear that music?
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OH hey there’s DJ! DJ is here! *hiccup* Excusme.

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My friends are all here. We are going around Disney World with all my friends because they are here and DJ is here and we have to get him more wine!

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Is it just me or are things a little blurry right now?

This drink is tasty.

Oh, how long have I been talking to my buddy Brian?
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Brian is a very good friend of mine from all the way back in middle school. He would never meet me at Six Flags Great America growing up, but we went to Disneyland and I gave him a Dolewhip and now he’s my friend at Disney World, too.
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Oh no! What did I say to Brian to make him make this face? He must be an Citrus Swirl guy now.

These drinks are goooooooood. How many have I had? We're in France now? When did...?
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Oh! We’re moving... we’re moving out!

Oh not them, they stopped… why?
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Let’s listen in…
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“NO. MORE. HQ!”

I sure am enjoying Epcot.

Oof I’m dizzy…. Where am I?
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Okay, I think we’re almost there. Just keep looking down, maybe you won't thro-

Nope. That's not working, okay look up, look up.

Hey, my buddy Brian is here!
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Brian is a very good friend of mine from all the way back in middle school. He would never meet me at Disneyland because it was too far from Chicago.

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Oh no… how long have we been drinking?
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“I can see my own soul”

RRRrrrrriiiiiiiing…….
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Ahoy?

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“WINE. QUEST.”

Oh boy, folks. I think we all need to go home and lie down. Let’s get us there the fastest way possible.
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As far as I can tell, the Test Track cars did, in fact, drive us back to Jambo House...
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Last edited by Director_Guy on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:16 am.

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Re: Photo TR: Orlando Group Honeymoon

Postby Canobie Coaster » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:05 am

Nice reports of Universal and Epcot!

The park staff is weird about Diagon Alley. The first time I went there, I couldn't find it. When I asked a staff member, they acted like it didn't exist because I was a muggle.
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