Sunday, August 5, 2012

Travelog: Walt Disney World's EPCOT

I have a goal of visiting all the Disney theme parks around the world. This is #2. We got a free ride here from our hotel. Good thing I asked 'cause I didn't know about it.

Disney World's EPCOT is Folklorama x100! We got lucky 'cause they were also having the plants exhibit when we went there. (Sorry, forgot the name of the exhibit!)

Welcome to China! When I saw this I was screaming "FINALLY, RIIIIICE!!!" Asian food is comfort food! Shopping in this pavilion is awesome 'cause it brought me back to my childhood. No, I'm not from China but almost everything here reminded me of things we have home.



United Kingdom

Oh, Canada!


United States of America. The American Adventure is a must watch. Amazing show! So much entertainment in this pavilion. On the side is the Toy Story plant display. Lots-O-Huggin Bear was there and even the display smelled like strawberry!!! I didn't want to leave!!!

Japan. The best treats and the best food!!! I think this is were I shopped the most. It made me want to go to Japan.

Kakigōri is the best!!! I have yet to recreate this treat here at home.


All the workers in each pavilion really came from that country. Yep, accents and all! I really wish we were able to try all the food but alas we can only take in so much. We only got to try Chinese food, some Japanese treats and French pastries. 

The only complaint I have is it was hard to find where the shows were. There were even some cancelled shows so when we got to the venue after trying so hard to find it, there was nothing to watch. 

Epcot also has the Future World pavilion which we didn't get to explore that much 'cause we were just too tired plus it rained a bit hard. We didn't even wait for IllumiNations anymore. Overall, it was a fun experience! Disney is always, always fun! We were even thinking of going to Animal Kingdom the following day instead of going shopping but we thought we need a break from all the walking.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Travelog: NASA's Kennedy Space Centre

This may be the most surreal experience ever. Hindi talaga pumapasok sa utak ko na eto talaga yun. This is the real deal!!! Naiisip ko pa rin na  baka niloloko ako ng mga employees. 

Hindi talaga 'to theme park? Rockets and satellites talaga?

We went to Merritt Island to visit the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC). All tourists were welcomed to the Visitor Complex where we boarded a bus tour. We didn't have to wait long because there were a lot of buses and they were very organized. The tour lasted about an hour long and took us to see different parts of the centre. The area is also a wildlife sanctuary so we got to see an eagle's nest, a lot of alligators and a number of bird species.

First stop is the Vehicular Assembly Building or VAB. Mahilig sa acronyms sa NASA so gamitin na rin natin para cool at feeling astronaut din tayo. This building is HUGE. As in I can't-wrap-my-eyes-and-brain-around-it huge. It needed to be this size because they used this building to assemble Saturn V. They still use this to assemble the Space Shuttle. It is the fourth largest structure in the world by volume! No, we didn't get off and go inside. The bus just went around the building. Syempre secret pa rin kung paano mag-operate ang NASA.

Vehicle Assembly Building or VAB

And then we were brought to the Saturn V Centre! I had to remember to close my mouth while I was here. I was soooo amazed!!!

 We also got to experience how it's like to board a shuttle via a simulation. It was exciting but then again, I don't know if I'd still say that about the real thing. Haha!

During this trip I also got to know how much these astronauts sacrifice. We all know they are brilliant, exceptional, dedicated individuals but I would like to commend them for their bravery. Each time they take on a mission, they know that their life is at stake but they still do it for science and for mankind. It's so selfless to do something like this. 

US Astronaut Hall of Fame

Up until now, I still can't believe I got to see the space center in person. It was meaningful to me because as a kid, I really, really loved astronomy. It was a bonus that I found a copy of my most favourite book as a kid at the Visitor Complex store.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Travelog: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Let me start with a cheesy statement: dreams do come true. I remember bookmarking the Wizarding World of Harry Potter website the day it was announced and regularly checking updates about its completion. Five years later, there I was. 

I am a Harry Potter fan. Maybe not the biggest fan but I grew up reading his journey. I was one of those people who would line up just to get the book on the day of its release. I was also one of those people who would bury their nose in the book's pages and not do anything else until it's done. So just imagine my excitement and kilig!

No magic from where I was standing. Magagalit ang Ministry of Magic at baka ma-kickout ako sa Hogwarts eh wala pa nga akong natatanggap na acceptance letter! August na, Hogwarts! Does that mean I'm not accepted??? :( Fiiine.

Back to my WWofHP story, I was so kilig the entire time and I made sure that I pay attention to every little thing. It was obvious that they spent a lot of time conceptualizing the park. I really felt I was in snowy Hogwarts eventhough we were at 30C weather haha.

One thing I was really curious about would be the butterbeer. So upon entering the park, I went ahead and lined up for a mug. I found out that, no you won't get drunk because it's basically cream soda. It was good but I wasn't crazy about it. I was expecting a warm, butterscotch flavour since Harry and the gang often drink it when they feel cold. It has a frozen version too ala-Slurpee. 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a MUST try. No matter how long the line is, you should try it! Lining up is worth it because you get to "explore" Hogwarts while waiting.

Some improvements that I would like to see:
1) A ride featuring the Hogwarts Express. Hopefully they construct something like the Disney train.

2) Bigger Hogsmeade, bigger stores
3) Basically, a bigger Wizarding World kasi sobrang bitin.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Travelog: Sheraton Vistana Villages Orlando

This is a very late post. 3 months late and I won't offer excuses haha. I went to Orlando, Florida earlier this year - April 2012 to be fairly exact - to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yup! I WENT THERE!!! And yes, Hogwarts was fun!

But before I start the Potter craziness, I'll post about our accommodations while in Orlando. It was tough deciding which place to stay. I found that most hotels are not as accessible as I would like them to be (in comparison to Anaheim) and a bit pricier too. We were not planning on driving around Orlando so accessibility was important for us. Each hotel has advantages and disadvantages so after careful consideration, we chose the Sheraton Vistana Villages mainly because of the amenities.

Our room is complete - a kitchenette, a dining table for four, flat screen TV, laundry, etc. The room was really clean and comfortable.

I love the Sheraton bed! Also, they were generous with pillows. I think there were 4 extra ones I found in the closet.

I don't have a picture of the bathroom but it's clean. They provided lots of towels too. However, there was a minor mishap as the toilet became clogged in the middle of our stay. We called room service and they sent someone within minutes. Apparently, it's a common occurrence.

Wilderness. The view outside our room.

Amenities that we didn't get to use. haha. The resort is HUGE. We were only able to walk half of it.

Resort entrance.

Some things that you may want to take a note of about this resort:
1) Because we were not driving, I asked for us to be booked in a villa near the entrance and the reception, which is a building on its own.
2) They have a small convenience store. However it was a bit of a walk since it's at the back of the resort.
3) They have free Disney transportation. Ask the receptionist about it.
4) Transportation to Universal Studios is $11. Ask the receptionist for the bus schedule.

Some things that you may want to take a note of about staying in Orlando:
1) A delivery company services most of the restaurants around International Drive so prepare to pay extra.
2) Learn the transit system. I'm telling you, it's confusing. Also, they do not have stops in most of the major attractions (except Sea World). Our hotel has a bus stop in front but has no pedestrian lanes so you can cross the street to the stop on the other side. I really don't understand what they want us to do.

3) ALLIGATORS. Yup there are lots.
To be continued...