We slept in and were out of the Howard Johnson by checkout (11am). At 12:15 it was 61 degrees which was great compared to the temp. in IL. We headed for International Drive and ended up at the Premium Outlet Mall. Hung out there for awhile and checked out the discount Disney store we had heard about. Ate cold cuts sandwiches in the van.
We then headed for the Pop Century and arrived there at 3pm to check-in. We were in the 1950 building room 3137 near the back of the buildings but still in a good location to the main hub of it all. The kids unpacked their suitcases and but everything in the drawers. We headed to the main building to purchase 2 mugs that would be used the entire week. Fill those mugs, the kids loved the frozen Cokes, regular and blue. I liked them as well the hot chocolate was awesome.
We then headed to Downtown Disney, started at one end and worked our way to the other and rode the boat back to where we had started. The kids bought the first of their pin collection. We were hungry for dinner so we headed to Fort Wilderness and ate at Trails End Buffet. We parked in their parking lot and rode a tram thru the campground, since you can't drive thru the campground. This was a neat way to see the campground, the cabins and all the campers and even tents. The buffet was pricey but good. After our tummy's were filled we headed to the Wilderness Lodge to look around. What a neat place as well, to bad it was dark out by this time I'm sure it looks even better in the daylight. When we left the Wilderness Lodge the fireworks were going off at Magic Kingdom and we got to see a little of them.
We arrived back at the Pop about 10:30pm.
I got up and going about 10:30am, went to the counter service to fill our mugs with coffee and hot chocolate. I stopped by the pool to find a table so that I could sit and enjoy the FL sun and say a prayer thanking God for a beautiful day and asking him to bless our day at the park. Arrived back at the room and everyone was getting ready. I emptied the coffee into Scott's traveling mug, and the kids headed to the counter service to get a couple of drinks for themselves. We checked out our resort, took pictures, then had lunch in our room. We left for Hollywood Studios at noon, parked in Film lot, Row 28 and stayed until 11:30pm. Erika and Scott had no desire to ride any type of coaster but Michael was now tall enough to ride any ride he wanted and was going with mom to ride the coasters. Michael and I conquered the Tower and Terror along with the Rockin' Roller Coaster, which we rode in the dark. The picture that were taken on Rockin' Roller Coaster were priceless and I should have bought one, Michael's eyes for the size of saucers. We took advantage of the Passporter picture taking deal after all it doesn't cost anything at this point. If we saw a cast member taking a picture we were there.
Overall we had a good first day at the Disney parks.
We arrived back at Pop around midnight and Scott dropped us off at the front so that we could reload our mugs with frozen Coke and back to the room to clean up and hit the hay.
We did eat at the park, we each ordered a container of McDonald's fries and ate them as we waited in the line to see the night show.
I was the first one up again. I got myself ready and went to fill the mugs yet again with coffee for Scott and hot chocolate for me. I found a table by the pool and sat to enjoy the sun and my hot chocolate. I thanked God for another beautiful day and to bless our adventure today that we all get along and not get caught up in the hussle of it all. Got back to the room and everyone was moving along getting ready for the day. I poured Scott's coffee into his travel mug and the kids went back to the counter service and filled up the mugs with. . . . . you guessed it frozen Coke.
Arrived at Animal Kingdom about 11am. Once at the park I had to make a phone call to my mom, we wished her a Happy Birthday! Scott and the kids went on the water ride and Michael got soaked! He wanted to go again, Scott and Erika didn't want to chance getting any wetter so Scott saw Michael on the ride and he was off. Scott ended up ringing Michael's shirt out and his shorts, then Michael went and stood under the hand dryer in the bathroom for awhile. We were able to see everything in the park and were ready to leave at 7:00pm. We ventured to the Boardwalk hotel to look around and walk on the boardwalk where there were shops and we watched a couple of boardwalk shows. There was a guy doing tricks that involved the audience, mostly kids. Michael really enjoyed the shows.
We ended our day at McDonalds about 9pm. We ate inside then headed back to the Pop. I was hoping we would get to bed before 1am, which I think we did. I really didn't pay much attention to the time except when we were at the parks to see the shows, after all we are on vacation.
I got up around 8am and this time I woke Michael up and he and I went to the counter service and ordered breakfast, waffles. Scott and Erika are not much on eating breakfast and were not ready to get up yet. I got Scott some coffee once I drank my hot chocolate.
We left for Magic Kingdom at 10am. We parked in Minnie lot Row 39 today. We rode the monorail over to the Island instead of taking the boat, we took jackets and got a locker to put them in for later (glad we did it ended up cool), once we entered the park we took the train to Frontierland, then got a fastpass for Space Mountian. Michael and I were able to ride it twice since we got 4 fastpasses and only 2 of us ride the coasters. We rode most of the rides in Fronteierland, we all rode Big Thunder Mtn and Splash Mtn., we didn't get very wet. We left the park at 11:30pm after we watched the light parade and Wishes fireworks. We watched the fireworks from the front of the park (Note: try and get closer to the castle to watch these, they turn off some of the street lights but where we were they did not. I think the closer to the castle you are the better it would be to watch). After the fireworks were done we didn't want to deal with the herds of people leaving so we hung out around the camera store and watched the people go by.
Another note: When leaving the park there are two options the boat and the monorail. We chose the monorail, it was just to cold to ride the boat. There are two monorails that will take you back to the parking lot, one is none stop the other stops at the Contemporary Resort. We chose the the monorail that stops at the Contompary first. The non stop line was very long the other was short. Hint: take the one stop monorail if the line is long to the non stop line.
We hung our around the hotel today. I was up early I wanted to get some laundry done, everyone else slept in. About 11am the family came out to the pool to keep me company. We lathered the kids with lotion. Our son was in the pool for a solid 2 hours, he did get burnt. He met a friend, Bobby from Canada they hung out the whole time together in the pool.
Later on in the afternoon we went to play mini golf at Winter Summerland, then visited Caribbean Beach resort. We walked on the while sand beaches laid in the hammocks and bought some aloe for our son's face and ears. Next we went to Wide World of Sports and ate dinner about 4:30pm. $45 later for 2 BLT with chips, 1 BBQ with cucumber melon relish and 1 hamburger and chips and 3 drinks. WOW! But we're on vacation. After we ate we walked around and saw kids playing Lacrosse, practicing track, softball and baseball.
We came back to the hotel, the kids swam some more, watched TV. It was a nice relaxing day at Disney and we got to bed at a descent hour. 9:40pm
We slept in till about 10am, got ready then filled our mugs then headed out to Orlando. We ate lunch about 2:30 at Chevy's then went to check out the IKEA store where I finally found curtains for our french doors in our family room.
It turned off cold and rainy 72 degrees. We went into Mall of Millenia and walked back out. When you see stores like Bloomingdales and Gucci I just wasn't in the mood to shop. Stopped at a super Target to get snacks.
Hoping to go to waterpark tomorrow, just hope it warms up.
We got back to the Pop around 8pm.
Another nice relaxing day at Disney.
We checked out of the POP, but not after we filled our mugs, loaded the van and headed to Universal's boardwalk. We took a quick tour of the boardwalk and ate at Bubba Gumps around 2:30 (awesome food and great service).
We headed to the Orlando airport to pick up the in-laws who will be staying with us for the next 5 days at the Villa's on Seven Dwarfs Lane. We rented a 4 bedroom townhouse for 5 days in Kissimmee. What an awesome place, I can't say enough about it. If you are looking for a place to stay close to Disney this would be it. For the price of room at a Disney resort you can stay here. We each had our own room with TV, they have a heated swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, great playground for kids.
Once we got settled in we went out to eat at the Crab House.
We ended our night about 11pm. We needed to be up and at the House of Blues for their Gospel Brunch the next morning.
We had reservations at the House of Blues this morning at 10:00am. This was a neat experience and the buffet was excellent!
After the Brunch we toured downtown Disney with the folks. All except our son and I, we lolly gagged around to much and got stopped at the Magic store because they were doing tricks with cards and soda bottles. My husband text me and wanted to know were we were, they were on the other side of downtown by then, so we hopped in the van and drove it to the other side and met them and did some more shopping.
We left downtown about 2pm then went to the outlet mall, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, on Route 535 (close to the Villas) then we found this really neat Mexician resturant off of Route 192 heading east called Garibaldi, 1804 W. Vine St, Kissimmee. Awesome food at a great price, we each ate for no more than $8 a plate and we got full.
This ended our day.
We were up and going about 10am, left the villa for Epcot around 11am.
We visited every country and ate in Germany. We stayed to watch Illuminations at 9pm. We only rode 3 rides, the boat ride in Norway and Mexico and Finding Nemo Ride. We arrived to late to get fast passes they were all gone. Test Track brock down later in the afternoon around 5pm. When we went to Soarin' there was a 2 hour wait so we never went back to check on it.
The night turned out chilled so we bought coffee and hot chocolate and waited for Illuminations. A neat way to end the evening.
We left the villa today around 10am and headed to Sea World. We bought our tickets out of a machine vs. going to the window which had a large line. This worked out pretty good. We bought the tickets that are good for a year, which didn't cost any extra, thinking we could let Scott's cousin use them when they go in May. That idea didn't work, they scanned our card and took a picture of us, I don't think they will pass for us. Sorry guys.
We had a great day! What a neat experience. Michael and I rode the Kraken twice, there was only a 10 minute wait. We decided 2 times was enough. The dolphin show was great! We all and a really good time today.
We ate dinner at Joe's Crab Shake in Celebration. They seated us outside, enjoyed eating in the nice weather.
We left the villa around 10am and headed to Universal Studios, got in around 11am, traffic was heavy. I can't say much about Universal, some of the rides/shows were awesome but for the price we paid I didn't really enjoy it much. We didn't go to Island's of Adventure because only 2 of us ride coasters. We waited in line most of the day but no more than 30 minutes. I really liked Shrek 4D and Jaws. Twister was hiped up to much and when you got there it was a huge let down. It says you get wet, please keep in mind you don't get very wet.
We took Ray and Charlotte to Bubba Gumps for dinner around 5pm. We wanted to go to Emerls but it didn't open till 6pm.
We left Universal and went to the Premium Outlet Mall at the end of International Drive. Then checked out the Bass Pro Shop.
We got home around 9pm, kids swam about 10pm. I got some laundry done so that we can continue our journey.
We take Ray and Charlotte to the airport tomorrow.
We checked out of the villa by 10am. Went to check out the Sam's Club we got a membership to, thank you Seven Dwarfs Villas, next door then headed to the airport to see Ray and Charlotte off. Its drissling this morning and about 68 degrees. Took Ray and Charlotte into the airport, they checked their luggage and we were off on yet another adventure.
We took 528 to 407 then to Route 95 toward Titusville, FL then we headed N on 95. Stopped at the Harley Davidson shop in Daytona Beach for a break and to eat. At St. Augustine, FL we got on Route A1A, after we stopped at Prime Outlets. This outlet had a Disney Outlet store that from what I understand receives product from Disney that is out of date. Very reasonable. We need to get back for some pins we bought and they were 99 cents vs. $2.99 at the parks, or pins for $3.99.
We headed North on A1A and needed to take a ferry boat from Mayport to Fort George. Kids thought that was neat. We ended up in Fernandina Beach. The road would not take us any farther. We stayed at Comfort Suites just a block from the beach. We ate in town at the Marina resturant then headed to the beach for an hour or so. The ripe tide was going on so the waves were really strong, they say the ripe tide could last a week.
Got up around 9am. Michael and I went down for breakfast. I got ready for the day then the kids and I went to the beach while Scott got ready adn checked us out. Scott metus at the beach we walked on the beach for about 1/2 hour. Michael collected alot of shells for us to keep. Waves were still pretty strong and it was chilly out, really not a good day for the beach. When we got to Jacksonville, FL it was 75 degrees.
We then started to head for home, we ended our drive in Locust Grove, GA, around 7pm. Locust Grove is a nice little town to stay in if you need a place to say overnight. We got checked in to the Ramada then headed across the street to the Outlet Mall. When we got back to the hotel the kids swam in the heated pool then we orded pizza from Bucks Pizza (very good). This was at exit 212 off Interstate 75, Scott called it "Comfortably South of Atlanta".
We had a nice drive, we were not in a hurry to get anywhere if we saw somewhere we wanted to stop we did.
We got up and ready then went to eat breakfast in the hotel lobby. We were on the road around 10am. Just another day of driving and not being in a hurry. We stopped in Calhoun, GA at yet another outlet mall, we stayed a couple of hours. They have a great Bath and Body Works outlet store, Erika and I had a hay day.
We stopped in Chattanoga, TN to check out what the big red signs that read ROCK CITY were all about. We first headed to the Incline, which you rode a trolly up a steep mountian. There was a 2 hour wait so we passed. We then traveled on following the signs to ROCK CITY, this looked like a neat place lots of paths to take in the rocks and a wooden bridge to cross, but again the line was to long and we didn't want to wait. Then we followed to signs that read Incline, we found it. This is where the trolley ended at the top of the mountain. We got out and took pictures, this would be a neat place to find a house to rent for a week and relax.
We were back on the road about 3:50 Central Standard Time (yea we gained an hour, Erika said).
We ended our travels for the day at Clarksville, TN.
We stayed at Motel 8. It turned cold on us yesterday as soon as we got on the North side of the TN mountains. This morning we were wearing jeans and jackets. No flip flops today. We were on the road by 10am, after we ate breakfast at the hotel.
We didn't stop and shop today, it's just to cold out. We stopped in Lebanon to eat, while on the road.
We arrived home around 3pm. We unloaded the van, swept it out and returned it to Ray and Charlotte. Picked up my car from them and headed to the grocery store for food.
I can't believe our trip is over. So much planning goes into vacation and it seems to end so quickly.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading my journal.