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Old 08-11-2016, 09:46 PM   #16
StaceySue
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We got to Rainforest Cafe, and we showed our card, and we were seated within five minutes. We sat near the entrance where the aquariums are. My husband got the hamburger and fries again, but I got nachos this time. The food was great and the service was wonderful.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1359 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

When we left Rainforest Cafe, it was even hotter than before. We looked in a couple of shops, but soon we were ready for a swim. After a swim and a rest, we ate a light dinner in our room and went back to Hollywood Studios.

We got back to the park, and we decided to use one of our fast passes for my husband and I to take turns on Rockin Rollercoaster. When we got over there, it started to rain. My husband went in first, and my daughter and I waited in the gift shop. Soon it was time to trade. I forgot how much that ride can knock you around. It might be good just for every four years for me!

It was still sprinkling when we were finished, but it seemed much cooler. It was soon time to check into our Star Wars dessert party. It was our first dessert party, so we weren't sure what to expect. But it turned out to be pretty awesome. It was all you can eat desserts, snacks, pop, and cocktails. Good times! We were also guarded by stormtroopers.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1366 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1367 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1371 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We ate and drank our fill, and then went back outside for a few moments. We had a wrist band that allowed you to come and go. About 15 minutes before the Star Wars fireworks and projection show, we were led to a special viewing area by the stormtroopers. This was one of the main reasons we did this party. We didn't have to wait around in the crowd. We had a laid back place to view the show in a prime location. It was a little delayed due to rain, but it wasn't long before we watched probably the best fireworks show we've seen at Disney, or anywhere.

They also gave us bottled water and a Chewbacca stein.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1379 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After the show, we waited for the crowds to disperse. We had entertained the idea of catching the Fantasmic show next with our last fast pass, but after the great show we saw, we didn't really feel like heading into another crowd of people to see it. We walked around soaking up the atmosphere since we had two extra magic hours. We took turns on another round of Tower of Terror, one of my favorite rides. We shopped a little, and then headed back to the room. It was our last night at the Beach Club.

Last edited by StaceySue; 08-11-2016 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:58 PM   #17
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I look forward to seeing the new Norway frozen attraction. I used to enjoy Maelstrom, but it was badly dated and in need of substantial refurbishment. Since Norway no longer sponsors the pavilion, I understand Disney wanting a Disney connection to the new ride.

The American Adventure is the ONE place I have never dined in Epcot. I feel whatever pain you may have suffered. I think one of the best quick service places in Epcot is the Tangierine Cafe in Morocco. It is a good place to get non-adventurous people to try something a little adventurous. Not very expensive and flavors not all that unusual to Americans.

Hmm, I may have to try to get them to eat there next trip!
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:15 AM   #18
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The next morning, it was time for us to check out of the Beach Club and head over to our next resort--Bay Lake Tower! We slept in a little, gathered up everything, and packed the car.

We arrived in the morning, so we knew it was probable that our room wouldn't be ready. But when we went to the front desk, the man checking us in said that it was ready! Even he was surprised. We did us bell services this time to get our luggage to the room. We had booked a standard view studio, so we could only possibly be as high as the fifth floor. Our room was on the third floor. Sounds great! Let's go!

But our room was better than great. We had a view straight on of Space Mountain. We could just see the tip of the castle. To our right, we had a view of Bay Lake.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1383 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1381 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

I was pretty excited to have this view. I am now spoiled for all trips. Bay Lake Tower is my favorite resort now.

We didn't have any park plans at this point in the day, so after we settled in our room and gazed at Space Mountain a lot, we went for a swim.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1401 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

The pool is nice here, but it's not like some of the feature pools at Disney. The one thing I really wish it had was some sort of shade. There wasn't much shade during this time of day. The water is pretty warm this time of year, so it's not always refreshing to swim. But it's a lot of fun!

After a swim, we cleaned up and had some lunch at the resort's quick service--Contempo Cafe. I know my daughter and I each had the kids' flatbread pizza, and we both shared a cupcake. She chose a chocolate cupcake with gummy worms. I had my eye on a Frozen-themed cupcake, but I went with whatever she wanted. It had a caramel filling in it, too. Yum!

We went back to the room to cool off and rest a little before dinner. I love our little rests where we can close the curtains and make the room cold and dark. Soon, it was time to go to our dinner at Chef Mickey's.

It was pretty awesome to take the sky bridge over to the Contemporary whenever we needed to go there. We left for dinner a little early so we could visit the shops in the resort first.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1388 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

Then we made our way over to Chef Mickey's.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1393 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We had a 5:05 reservation, so we were in the first seating. It wasn't long before our server led us to our table. We were over to the far right by the start of one of the buffet lines. Our server told us it would be a few minutes before a character would make it our directions, so we headed over to the food.

I really liked the Parmesan mashed potatoes here. I had some carved beef and some kind of pasta salad. I also tried some macaroni and cheese with lobster. Not bad. I'm not sure what all the others had, but I know my daughter had a slice of ham and some chicken.

Soon the characters found us.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1416 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1424 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We got to meet Pluto, Donald, Minnie, Goofy, and Mickey. It takes a while for Mickey to get through. Everyone wants multiple pictures with him, and he has his own handler who will take pictures with your camera for you.

We had dessert as we waited for Mickey. I know Oreos with mouse ears were involved in dessert. Also ice cream and Reese's Pieces.

With our tummies full, it was time to head over to Animal Kingdom!
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:28 AM   #19
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We decided to do an evening at Animal Kingdom since they had their new night hours. On our last trip, we never made it to Animal Kingdom because we decided to take a rest day instead of going, and the park used to close in early evening. We'd only been to Animal Kingdom one other time, so we were excited.

We had a fast pass for Kilimanjaro Safari first thing. I wanted to be sure we could ride it before it was dark, even though they have the new sunset safari. I've heard that the sunset safari is still pretty dark even though it's lit up. Maybe we'll try it sometime.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1443 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We headed to the safari, but we were concerned about a storm that was rolling in. We didn't know how much time we would have. I know storms move in and out in Florida pretty regularly in the summer. My husband's radar app said the storm was on its way.

We got on the safari quickly, and didn't have any rain during the ride.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1438 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After the safari, it started to lightning. We had fast passes for Expedition Everest, but the ride shut down due to lightning. When lightning comes to Animal Kingdom, your options become diminished quickly. After walking around a while, we decided to try to see the 3D film It's Tough to be a Bug. We got in, but it started to sprinkle as we walked into the queue. The show was cute, but some parts made DD a little nervous. After the movie let out, it was pouring. People were trying to take cover in the exit, and it became crowded. We put on our ponchos and headed out. The ponchos weren't really helping much. After a restroom break, we decided we probably should leave. We didn't know how likely things would open back up that night.

We were completely soaked by the time we reached the car. We drove back to our resort. After getting dry and ready for bed, we realized that it was almost time for Wishes to start at the Magic Kingdom. We turned on our TV so we could hear the music, and we sat on the balcony to watch the fireworks. I never dreamed we would have this view and that this would be possible. It was pretty magical!

[IMG]Summer 2016 1453 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1456 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:49 AM   #20
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The next morning, we were up early. Magic Kingdom opened at 8:00 am. We were ready! It was also my birthday. I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate!

We walked over to the Magic Kingdom. This is another reason I love this resort! We got through the turnstiles and and bag check just in time to see the end of the opening show. Soon, we were walking down Main Street! There are few things better than walking towards Cinderella's Castle.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1510 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We went straight to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan before the line was crazy. Here are a couple of pictures of the new queue for the ride. You get to walk through the Darling home and the children's nursery. Tinkerbell flies around and there are some fun effects.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1457 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1459 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We did It's a Small World next. Soon it was time for our Haunted Mansion fast pass. We got right on. We looked in the new (to us) Haunted Mansion gift shop. It wasn't there last time we were there. We strolled over to Frontierland and looked around until it was time for our Splash Mountain fast pass. This is one of my favorites, and my daughter really likes the characters.

I was able to then move up our fast pass for Pirates of the Caribbean. We headed that way, and a pirate tutorial was in progress.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1497 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

Soon, it was time to ride. This is one of my husband's favorites. We then made our way over to Tomorrowland. We decided we were hungry, so we grabbed lunch at Cosmic Ray's. We'd never eaten there. I had rotisserie chicken which was really good. After lunch, it was getting pretty warm. We went back to the room for awhile. We had to rest up for our dinner in Cinderella's castle later!

Last edited by StaceySue; 08-12-2016 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 08-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #21
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With whom did you rent the points with? We did it through David's for our Feb 2015 trip but they seem to have gone up 2 bucks a point since. Shame your daughter didn't get to play in the playground in the Dino area at AK. Avatar is taking and excruciatingly long time to complete and the new Rivers of Light show that the night hours were added for is not ready for prime time and delayed.

I too love the planning, I have our trip to Philly/DC/Williamsburg) next June all ready to go. We take one "big" trip every year with a couple smaller extended weekend ones. At least that's been a pattern.

2018- Europe (Italy, France Holland , Germany, London)
(New York for 2 to 3 days on the back end for 4th fireworks)
2019-Yellowstone and Dakotas
2020- Asia (Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima)
(China, Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chendu, Hong Kong, A couple of national parks)

After that in no particular order some with the kids and others without

African Safari, Victoria Falls
Australia, New Zealand
Alaskan Cruise/Pacific Northwest
Machu Picchu
California(Yosemite, Sequoia , Napa, San Fran)
Boston and New England

Amazing they almost turned Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, they are in California. Now the big rumor is Stitch is going bye bye in Tommorrowland for Wreck It Ralph.
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:44 PM   #22
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With whom did you rent the points with? We did it through David's for our Feb 2015 trip but they seem to have gone up 2 bucks a point since. Shame your daughter didn't get to play in the playground in the Dino area at AK. Avatar is taking and excruciatingly long time to complete and the new Rivers of Light show that the night hours were added for is not ready for prime time and delayed.

I too love the planning, I have our trip to Philly/DC/Williamsburg) next June all ready to go. We take one "big" trip every year with a couple smaller extended weekend ones. At least that's been a pattern.

2018- Europe (Italy, France Holland , Germany, London)
(New York for 2 to 3 days on the back end for 4th fireworks)
2019-Yellowstone and Dakotas
2020- Asia (Japan, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima)
(China, Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Chendu, Hong Kong, A couple of national parks)

After that in no particular order some with the kids and others without

African Safari, Victoria Falls
Australia, New Zealand
Alaskan Cruise/Pacific Northwest
Machu Picchu
California(Yosemite, Sequoia , Napa, San Fran)
Boston and New England

Amazing they almost turned Tower of Terror into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, they are in California. Now the big rumor is Stitch is going bye bye in Tommorrowland for Wreck It Ralph.
We use the DVC Rental Store. We've used them three times now, and we plan to use them again in a couple of years. It's hard to beat deluxe resorts at moderate prices. And for now, I really like staying where we can walk to a park. Maybe that will change, but I want to go to Beach Club and Bay Lake Tower on our next trip, too.

We've never been out of the country. Maybe some day. You've been to some great places and have some great adventures planned. I went with a group of students to New York City in June. It was only three nights, but we saw four Broadway shows and some of the sights. I was exhausted!

Right now, we are planning a trip for early June to the Grand Canyon with stops at Carlsbad Caverns and Tombstone. We think we'll go up through Utah to Arches and then to Denver and home. We've made some hotel reservations to be sure we have a place to stay. I'm a teacher, so now I get to dream about the trip through the school year. I have to go back to work tomorrow, so I better finish this report!

Last edited by StaceySue; 08-14-2016 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:17 PM   #23
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After a rest in the room, it was time to get ready for dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table. My daughter had done Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney on our last trip. We did the Cinderella dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian afterwards. This year, she really wasn't interested in doing it again. She did want to wear her Elsa dress from last trip and do her hair. At BBB, they give you the leftover make-up and nail polish, and she had a hair piece with her style, so I brought all of that with us and used it again. I didn't do it as tight at the fairy godmothers do, so it didn't stay for long, but we gave it a shot.

We took a couple of pictures before our dinner reservation.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1520 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1563 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

Soon, it was time. They would not let us check in until five minutes before the reservation, but that was okay. We just didn't want to be late. When they call your name, you get to meet Cinderella before going up to dinner.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1543 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

Then, you go upstairs to meet your server and be seated.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1545 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

First they bring out a plate of cheese, bread, and cold meats. They brought my daughter cheese and grapes. For dinner, I ordered the grilled beef tenderloin and shrimp. It was served with mashed potatoes and carrots in a wine reduction. Very good! Here is a picture.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1550 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

My husband asked for just a plain beef tenderloin with mashed potaotes and corn. They said it was not a problem at all, and the mashed potatoes and corn are offered on the children's menu. My daughter had chicken with mashed potatoes and corn.

For dessert, my daughter had a smores dessert. My husband and I each got a different dessert so we could share both. I had the clock strikes midnight cake, and he had the cheesecake with strawberry sauce. Both were really delicious!

[IMG]Summer 2016 1555 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1556 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We also met Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel, and Sleeping Beauty. After dinner, we had fast passes for Tiana and Rapunzel, so DD left her dress on to meet them.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1553 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1572 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1576 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After meeting those two, we went to the Rapunzel bathrooms to change out of the Elsa dress.

Summer 2016 1577 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We rode some more rides including the Peoplemover. We then saw the Incredibles dance party getting underway, so we had to go check it out.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1613 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After hanging around here for awhile, we decided to head back to the room. We had seen some of Wishes, and people were getting ready to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade. We thought about riding the monorail to the room, but it was really crowded in that direction, so we just walked back to Bay Lake Tower.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:38 PM   #24
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Our next day was another great day at Magic Kingdom. This time, we went straight to Adventureland. We got another ride on Pirates, and then we did the Jungle Cruise and the Tiki Room. We did story with Belle, which is always cute. We then took our daughter over to Dumbo. While we were over there, my husband and I took turns riding Space Mountain since DD didn't want to ride. With fast passes, we got right on. After that, we had fast passes for Monsters Laugh Floor. We then did some looking in the shops on Main Street. Soon, we were ready for lunch, so we took the monorail back to the room.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1669 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After a swim, we got ready to go back to the Magic Kingdom. We had dinner reservations at Liberty Tree Inn. This was our only reservation that ran behind. Still, we were waiting in air conditioning, so it wasn't that bad. Our daughter colored a colonial picture of Minnie Mouse while we waited. She also did a photo shoot near the fireplace.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1681 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

The food was all you can eat Thanksgiving. It was very good. It did take awhile, though. Towards the end of the meal, we were getting antsy and ready to go. We were also so full that we skipped dessert. Crazy, I know. It was our last Magic Kingdom night, and we had things to do!

Mostly we rode a lot of our favorite rides again. I know we rode It's a Small World and Haunted Mansion again. It was very busy this night. Soon, we staked out a spot in Liberty Square to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade. We able to sit on the rock wall and see perfectly. Now it's been announced that this parade is leaving WDW. That may have been my last time to see it.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1695 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After the parade, we rode a few more rides including Aladdin's Magic Carpets. At close, we sat in Frontierland for awhile and let the crowds leave. When we finally did leave, the exit was still pretty crowded. We decided to walk back to the room again. Did I mention I love staying at Bay Lake Tower?
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Old 08-14-2016, 04:02 PM   #25
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Thanks for the great trip reports. You are making me homesick for WDW... I hope I'm around long enough to make it there again. I am committed to going back to Minnesota next spring when Ann has vacation time again, so it may be a year and a half until I get to WDW. Hope I'm still able to travel when the time comes.

We stayed at Bay Lake Tower year before last. We had a two-bedroom unit which was wonderful... we had Ann's adult niece on the trip with us and the privacy of two bedrooms was nice. A one bedroom would have worked with the sofa-bed in the living room, but then the person in the living room has to put up with others who want to stay up later or get up earlier than they do. Having the two bedroom was a nice option, and with my DVC points it cost us nothing.

Bay Lake Tower is a beautiful hotel with an excellent location, but I think I still prefer The Boardwalk. Probably because I prefer Epcot to the Magic Kingdom as my favorite park. I also like all the dining and entertainment options on The Boardwalk during the evening. Wow... I can't believe that I only see one WDW trip in my future. Somehow I thought they would never end. Enjoy your trips... my WDW memories are the most valuable things that I have.

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Old 08-14-2016, 07:35 PM   #26
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Thanks for the great trip reports. You are making me homesick for WDW... I hope I'm around long enough to make it there again. I am committed to going back to Minnesota next spring when Ann has vacation time again, so it may be a year and a half until I get to WDW. Hope I'm still able to travel when the time comes.

We stayed at Bay Lake Tower year before last. We had a two-bedroom unit which was wonderful... we had Ann's adult niece on the trip with us and the privacy of two bedrooms was nice. A one bedroom would have worked with the sofa-bed in the living room, but then the person in the living room has to put up with others who want to stay up later or get up earlier than they do. Having the two bedroom was a nice option, and with my DVC points it cost us nothing.

Bay Lake Tower is a beautiful hotel with an excellent location, but I think I still prefer The Boardwalk. Probably because I prefer Epcot to the Magic Kingdom as my favorite park. I also like all the dining and entertainment options on The Boardwalk during the evening. Wow... I can't believe that I only see one WDW trip in my future. Somehow I thought they would never end. Enjoy your trips... my WDW memories are the most valuable things that I have.

I hope you are able to make many more Disney memories! I agree with you on how important those memories are, or any memories with loved ones. It is so important to me to spend time with my spouse and family at Disney or anywhere else. It's why I don't teach summer school. I am pretty busy during the school year teaching English and drama and coaching speech and debate. But summers and other breaks are for adventures big and small, for as long as I can.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:11 PM   #27
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Finally, it was our last Disney day. We had decided to spend it at Epcot. This is the time that I wish I had kept that second Frozen fast pass, because those were long gone. Oh well. We also decided to sleep in, so I rearranged the fast passes we had to the evening. Only tier one fast passes really matter anyway. The others usually don't have a very long line.

After we woke up, we went for a swim until we were ready for lunch. My husband and daughter went back to eat in the room, but I went to the quick service and got a kids' flatbread pizza again. I got it to go and took it to the room. Along with this--

[IMG]Summer 2016 1792 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

I had been thinking about that Frozen cupcake.

After lunch, we were ready to go to Epcot. We took the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center and hopped on the Epcot monorail. We thought we would try to meet Mulan first thing before she stopped meeting for the day. When we first got to the Chinese pavilion, they were just cutting off her line inside the temple building. They said she would come back out in 20 minutes, and we could get in line then. Soon, Mulan went inside for her break. So, we decided to wait on the benches where people wait for the film. Other people were waiting for the film. The time for the film came, and people went to go view it leaving us there alone. A cast member came up to us and asked if we were waiting for Mulan. We said we were, and we were told Mulan's next meet would be outside at the red bridge.

No one had mentioned this detail to us! By the time we got to the bridge, a long line had formed out into the path. Mulan and her handler had not come out yet, but I thought there was no way we would make this set either. I was about to give up, but the handler came out and rerouted the line. It was cut off right behind us. We were lucky to get in, but we still had quite a wait for our turn.

At times it started to sprinkle, so we asked the handler how hard could it rain before Mulan had to go in. She said if it rained any harder that the meet would have to be canceled. Oh no! We continued waiting in line. Then, we noticed as we rounded a curve that there were three people ahead of us that had not been there moments before. Normally, we wouldn't care that much about line cutters, but we were at the end of the line waiting for a second time and hoping it wasn't rained out before our turn. So, we said something to the handler. The people started to deny it, but my husband called them out on it. Then they said they didn't want any trouble and they left. This incident is after my husband watched a man take his two kids through the exit of the carousel in Magic Kingdom and put his kids on the horses without the cast members seeing. I guess he'd had enough.

We continued waiting, and the sun came back out. Finally it was our turn!

[IMG]Summer 2016 1732 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We went back to Future World for awhile and used our fast passes after that. We also rode Figment again, one of my daughter's favorites. She still had some trip money left, so she bought the stuffed Figment she wanted. We decided to eat an early dinner at the Electric Umbrella where my family had chicken nuggets and fries, as usual. We decided to spend the rest of the evening in World Showcase.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1780 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1782 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We spent more time in Germany than we ever had. We also took a boat ride in Mexico, and we went shopping again in Japan. We bought two t-shirts for our older daughter and two small lucky waving cats like Asian restaurants often have. All too soon, the sun was going down. Instead of watching Illuminations again, we thought we might leave before it starts to get to the monorail without the crowds. We slowly made our way to the front.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1789 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

When we got back to the resort, we stayed on the outside patio by the skybridge for awhile, just soaking up our last evening. Finally, we went to our room to get some sleep.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:35 PM   #28
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The next morning we packed up everything and checked out. It's always sad to leave, but we still had some more adventure ahead of us. Today, we were heading to St. Augustine for some beach time.

This was our third time to St. Augustine, so our only plans were to go to the beach. We've been to the fort, and we've taken a ghost tour. We've been to the pirate museum and checked out the old town. So, this time we didn't feel the need to do too much of that stuff. We checked into our favorite hotel there, a Hampton Inn steps away from the ocean at Vilano beach. There is also a little town center and a Publix right there. We love it!

Our room was ready, so we took in our bags and grabbed our suits. We walked over to the beach on a beautiful day, the best day we've had in St. Augustine. Usually our visits include a lot of lightning.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1797 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1798 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We spent a couple of hours going into the water and taking breaks on the sand. We found a lot of shells. The water was pretty rough; it was a yellow flag day. I did feel like there was a point that felt too far out, so I didn't go that far again. It is a little scary. Even on a yellow flag, there was a point I felt like it was sweeping me out farther, and my first instinct was to swim straight to the beach. I did think about riptides and how you should swim parallel to the beach. I know it wasn't a riptide, but I could see how dangerous that could be for an inexperienced ocean swimmer like me.

When we were ready for a break, we headed back to the room. It took us a little while to get all the sand cleaned up. We all took a little nap, and then we headed into town and had dinner at Chili's. When we got back, it was still light. We decided to walk down to the beach again. The water was even rougher, and the tide was almost up to the dune. There were several local surfers out. We just walked along in ankle deep water and enjoyed the evening.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1821 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We then took a little drive into old town where the fort is and drove past all the little bars with live music. We just drove around a little to see people having a good time. While we were driving, it got darker and the full moon came out. When we got back to the hotel, we walked over to the beach one more time to see the moon over the water.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1834 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

It was a nice evening for sure.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:08 PM   #29
Lindsey
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I have loved reading every bit of your trip!!!! Can I go with you on your next trip???? Thanks for sharing it all!!
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:15 PM   #30
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The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel before packing up and leaving. We had one more destination before making the drive home. And we'd never been there before--Savannah, GA. I was really looking forward to it. I had read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil before, and I own the movie. I had always wanted to visit.

We arrived in time for lunch, and we planned to eat at the Pirate House. There are stories about pirates sleeping there in the tavern, and some people were kidnapped, taken through underground tunnels, and put on a ship sailing out to sea. When they awoke it was too late, or so the stories go. Also, it's supposed to be haunted. Robert Louis Stevenson of Treasure Island fame was supposedly inspired by the pirate stories here. We were told that there were no famous pirates here, though. Good to know.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1856 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

The building is supposed to be the oldest in Savannah. There are several rooms you can dine in. We waited about 15 minutes to be seated. We spent that time int he gift shop. When we were seated, they gave my daughter a kids' menu with pirate accessories that can be punched out. My husband tried it out.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1842 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

The food was pretty good. I had hand-dipped shrimp. I couldn't eat all of it. The others had chicken. Of course.

We then drove out to Bonaventure Cemetery. It has many beautiful headstones and statues, and the oak trees are covered in Spanish moss. It is really peaceful, too.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1869 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1873 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We then came back to the historic district and saw some of the squares and Forsyth Park with its famous fountain.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1876 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1879 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

After some exploring, it was getting hot. We decided to check into our motel. We decided to save a little money and not stay right on the river. Instead, we stayed at a little retro-looking place on the edge of the historic district called the Thunderbird Inn. Here are a couple of pictures I took.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1958 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1882 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

They have two RC colas and two moonpies waiting for you in your room when you check in. Also, breakfast is Krispy Kreme donuts. It's interesting!

After we settled in, we went to have a quick dinner before our ghost trolley tour. I had made a mistake in waiting too long to book this, and when I did, the latest I could get was 7:00 pm. So our ghost tour was at dusk instead of at night. It was still fun. We've started enjoying these as a way to tour the city at a cooler temp. The stories are fun, too.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1886 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

That's our trolley. The tour started on River Street, so we got to see the bars and shops before our tour.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1892 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

Our tour included a stop at the Andrew Low house. His daughter-in-law founded the girl scouts. We got to go inside the home. It was beautiful.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1910 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1936 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We drove through the squares a little. We drove past the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1896 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

The tour ends in a building on River Street where a storyteller performs a story in an old cotton warehouse. It has some fun special effects.

After our tour, we strolled along a little more.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1951 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]Summer 2016 1945 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

On our way home to the motel, we looked up the Williams Mercer home. This house plays a role in Midnight, so I had to snap a picture.

[IMG]Summer 2016 1957 by sbillingsley, on Flickr[/IMG]

We got a pretty nice glimpse of Savannah. Maybe someday we'll go back. It was a lovely place. I think it would be fun for a weekend.

The next morning, my husband had a crazy idea. He thought we should drive straight through home to Joplin. I said I didn't care if he wanted to. We've already seen many sights along this drive on our various trips. I think the thought of taking luggage into one more hotel was too much for him. Anyway, we got on the road and drove and drove...

We did try Zaxby's for lunch for the first time. Not bad. And dinner was at a Taco John's, my second visit to one of those. Also, not bad.

Thank you for indulging me while I wrote this out. I like to remember these trips, and I love to read other people's trip reports when I am planning a trip. So now, only about ten months until my family's next big vacation. I'm ready!
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