The first week of our trip to Florida is over, already, and it´s time for a recapture. As I told in one my previous post, it all started in Miami, where Alex and I flew in and picked up our rental car. We headed to Orlando the same day, and when we arrived around 11 p.m. local time, we fell into our hotel beds more dead than alive. No wonder, as we were awake for almost 24 hours, from starting our travels in Germany till arrival in Orlando.
Day 1: Walt Disney World Resort
Both of us woke up very early in the morning, no matter if we were still tired, of course, our bodies were still in German time. 😀
After taking a shower, put some clothes on and got ready for the day, we were prepared for our first “activity”: visiting Walt Disney World Resort. We spent the whole day in Disney´s Magic Kingdom, it was hot and sunny, and Disney was as magical as I remembered it. A perfect to start an awesome vacation.
Day 2: WWE Superstore, The Orlando Eye & WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony
OCCC & WWE Superstore
The second day was the official start of OUR Wrestlemania week. As we hadn’t had any plans for the day itself, we decided to go shopping and take the first look into the WWE Superstore at the Orange County Convention Center, where also the WWE Fan Axxess took place. Of course, we were “successful” and bought the one or another T-Shirt of our favorite Wrestlers.
The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
After the shopping tour in the Superstore, we visited the Orlando Eye*. Please don´t mix it up with the London Eye, what we have done the whole time. 😉
According to visitorlando.com, it is the tallest observation wheel on the east coast of the USA. We were lifted about 400 feet and enjoyed a 360° view of Orlando. We have seen the skyline of Orlando´s downtown, several theme parks, lakes, and landscapes. You could even see Cape Canaveral and Florida´s east coast.
WWE 2017 Hall of Fame Ceremony
When we finished the ride on the Orlando Eye, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the WWE 2017 Hall of Ceremony at the Amway Center in Orlando. We had damn good seats and could see the stage and the inner floor where all the Superstars sat. The Ceremony itself was not as emotional as in the years before but anyhow, beautiful to watch. For the Wrestling fans; this year’s inductees were for instance: Diamond Dallas Page, Beth Phoenix, Nick Rude, and Kurt Angle.
Day 3: WWE Fan Axxess & NXT Takeover: Orlando
WWE Fan Axxess
The next started exactly as the past day has ended – with Wrestling. We went back to the OC Convention Center for our first Axxess session. The WWE Fan Axxess is an opportunity to meet your favorite Wrestlers, active ones or Legends. Also, a lot of Merchandise, Memorabilia and other Fan-stuff is available. Even an NXT ring is set up, and they record a couple of NXT matches for their shows.
We hadn´t expected that much. Ok, a lot of pictures of some of the Wrestlers, but that we were that lucky that day, we couldn´t imagine. As special surprises, we saw Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, and Diamond Dallas Page in the ring. Even Linda McMahon, the wife of the chairman Vince McMahon and one of the owners of WWE was walking around.
After the Fan Axxess, we went to the Orlando Downtown to grab something to eat and get ready for the NXT Takeover. We ended up in the Kres Chophouse, which you can find on Church Street. And guess, who we met there? Jim Ross himself!!! He entered the restaurant when we were still looking at the menu and think about to eat here or not. When we saw him, our decision was made. And it was a good one. I had a Wagyu Carpaccio, and a Whiskey Sour and both were damn good!
NXT Takeover: Orlando
After a delicious dinner, we went over to the Amway Center to watch the NXT Takeover: Orlando. NXT is a professional Wrestling promotion and a division of WWE. Nowadays, almost everyone who competes in WWE had wrestled in NXT beforehand. There is just a handful of such huge “Takeover”-shows during a year, especially, before one of the big main pay-per-views of WWE like the Royal Rumble, Summerslam or at this time Wrestlemania. So this something special to see. The atmosphere was brilliant, thanks to the international crowd we were. A couple of matches only but with such a high quality of wrestling and in-ring action. The show and entrances were GLORIOUS!
Day 4: Relax at the pool & Wrestlemania 33
The next morning began very smooth. We slept as long as we could and afterward we relaxed at the pool bar for a while. Around lunchtime friends who I met on my very first Wrestlemania trip three years ago visited us. They are huge Wrestling fans, too. Therefore we always meet up at this time ever since. Well, we caught up with each other, had some beer and enjoyed the sun, while we were waiting for our bus, which was supposed to bring us to the Citrus Bowl to watch the shows of the shows.
Soon it was 2 p.m., and the buses were waiting in front of the Hotel to get all the people to the Camping World Stadium* (Citrus Bowl)
We had to wait a while until they opened the gates and let all the people in, but finally, the show started. It kicked off with the pre-show. Two hours later everyone was ready for the main show. With the obligatory presentation of the unofficial national anthem “America the beautiful,” the jet aircraft flying over the stadium and the fireworks.
As the Camping World Stadium is an open-air stadium, it was awesome to see the fireworks and the aircraft with my own eyes and not only on one of the big screens. So the show could begin!
A lot of matches. A lot of excellent matches. A lot of spectacular entrances and special effects. Even our seats were that good this year. Only the ringside seats separated us from the ring. That was one of the best Wrestlemanias of the last couple of years, including a Citrus Bowl audience record of 75,245 people, a marriage proposal and the goodbye of a phenom.
Day 5: Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, Relax on I-Drive & WWE Monday Night RAW
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Kicked off the morning with a proper breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. Delicious and good food in the morning, at lunchtime and for dinner. So far we never needed to worry that we don´t get something tasty when we eat there.
We were happy that we didn´t have any Wrestling related appointments this morning. But, surprise!! Guess who wanted to eat there together with his family?! Kevin Owens!!! The night before we saw him in the ring, winning the WWE U.S. Championship and on this very morning, he asked for a table for him and his family in the same restaurant where we wanted to eat. That is crazy!
International Drive & Monday Night Raw
With a visit to Sealife and a Minigolfmatch, we spent the day in Orlando before we headed back to the Amway Center in Downtown for Monday Night RAW. Again, a fantastic atmosphere and a loud and crazy people from all over the world enjoyed the first show after Wrestlemania. After Wrestlemania is before Wrestlemania the cards were mixed up again, storylines found their end and new feuds came up.
Day 6: Universal Studios Resort & WWE Smackdown Live
Almost the end of this full packed Wrestling week. It is Tuesday and time for something else. As part of the travel package from WWE with all the Tickets and the Hotel, we also got tickets for Universal Studios, which we used today. We spent the day in the Universal Studios*, took a ride on several roller coasters, visit Harry Potter at Hogwarts and get extremely wet when we rode the Dudley Do Right´s, Ripsaw Falls. Unfortunately, we didn´t dry anymore as it started to rain later that day. Could you believe that? Rain in Florida, while we are on vacation. Unbelievable!
After a short rain shower, we managed to get back to the hotel. Fortunately, it wasn´t far away, right at the entrance of the Studios. We changed our clothes and were ready for the final show of the week: Smackdown live.
WWE Smackdown Live
Once again, we drove into the Downtown to the Amway Center. We were already used to the route and the parking garage so that we hadn´t any problems and arrived just in time for the beginning of the show.
It was two shows in one. First, Smackdown which was aired live on TV and second, the 205 Cruiserweight show, which is shown exclusively on the WWE Network. If you watch it very concentrated, you might see us sitting somewhere in the audience right on the other side of the ring. Our seats were again so good that we sometimes were on TV. Yeah, we´re famous now! 😀
Last day, last show, last night in Orlando. Time for a new destination.
Day 20 – Miami