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Kurby 06-28-2010 09:49 AM

6 Nights / 7 Days in the middle of summer - We've lost our minds.
Well it's official. We have completely lost our minds. I can't stand the hot hot hot Florida summers,not a fan of standing in line for over a hour to ride It's a Small World and I swear I'll blow a gasket if someone steps on my foot or rams a stroller up my back side BUT let's go do Disney World.

Ok ok lets start from our booking.

It's Myself - Karen or mummy to DD Cassandra and DH Patrick.

It's February 2010. Winter should be in full swing but this year so far we've only had 1 snow storm and that couldn't really be called a storm - maybe just an annoyance.

We had already decided NOT - yes that's right - NOT to go to Disney World at all this year since we had already been both to Disney World and on our very first Disney Cruise last spring. So this was our Disney off year.

We asked my Aunt if she would like to come with us via train (first time for dd, dh and myself) to Quebec City, Canada for a week and she thought that would be a lovely holiday. So I went ahead and booked a wonderful week filled with lots of things we have done before on our previous 3 trips in 6 years to Quebec plus some things that we haven't done.

Then my mother in law and I were talking about how dh and I always drive to WDW since dd was born and that we were going to go back to taking our Disney trips in January's since I'm not a good summer person and the cooler temps, low crowds and cheaper rates could mean that we could go back to going every year. And really, who doesn't love that :)

So anyways MIL was telling me about the route that they used to take when her kids were little and they would drive from Toronto Canada to Florida to visit her brother over the Christmas holidays.

We have always driven down the 77/95 Buffalo route but MIL told me they turned off and headed through Richmond Virginia to avoid the mountains since they could be very bad in the winter. Perfect. We're not going to Disney this year so why don't we book a week or so in Virginia to test the route and have a nice vacation at the same time.

So off i go booking a week at the end of July. DH has 5 weeks vacation this year thanks to saving 1 from last year (and at this point in time I can't remember why we saved a week) so the beginning of July, Quebec and the end, Virginia. We'll deal with the other weeks later and may go camping or just stay around Toronto and do a bunch of things at home.

After a couple of days of looking at things to do in Richmond we came to the conclusion that while Virginia is very nice there is a lot of military things and not a lot of other things we're all that interesting in doing with a 4 year old girl. So change of plans. Why not add a couple of days in Savannah????

We drive through it every Disney year and always say we should stay a couple of days so this is our chance. Now we're 4 nights in Richmond and 3 in Savannah. Perfect...........

"Honey" says dh.

"Do you think we can visit my Aunt while we're down there?"

Aunt lives in Florida. About 30-45 minutes inland from Daytona Beach. Her husband passed away last summer and we haven't seen her since.

"of course we can. Savannah is only about 4 or 5 hours drive from her why don't you take another week and we'll visit her for a day or so and maybe stay at Daytona Beach too."

We're being good and staying away from Disney.

Dh takes the extra week and we rearrange the hotels and days splitting the week between VA and GA and I start looking at hotels in Daytona Beach.

HOLY COW the last time we stayed in Daytona was when dd was only a baby and it was in May. I had NO idea the cost of hotels jumped sooooo much for the summer months.

NO WAY we're paying over $250 a night when we're used to paying 20-30 because dh works for Hilton and if you book early enough you can get those rates at most hotels but because we're now into March and have missed the employee booking window there aren't any rooms available at those rates.

It's at this point too that we find out that dh's cousins want to take their mom on holiday and that we won't have too much time with her (really only a day - which is fine). So a little more planning needs to happen.

One night I'm watching tv when a Disney commercial comes on. Book before the end of March for 5 nights and get a gift card in xx amount depending on if you stay deluxe, moderate or value. hummmmmm really.

"ahhhhh honey" I say ever so sweetly.

"yes dear" comes back the response in just as sickly sweet tone

"you know....... your Aunt only lives an hour and a half from Orland"

"and you know...... Orlando is only about half an hour's drive from Lake Buena Vista"
"yes. i think your right"
"sooooooo honey...... I'm going to book a few days at Disney World "

like he had a choice. I was sitting on the site working out the days as i was talking to him LOL

"ok - when do you want to go - before or after we see my aunt". and it was done.

That night I booked us in for 7 nights and we were good to go.

And that brings us to today. 1 week before our train trip to Quebec.

I'm looking forward to each segment of our vacation but who's kidding who?? we're ALL really looking forward to the shortest Disney trip we've ever taken.

disneyyprincess 06-28-2010 11:24 AM

WOW!! it sounds like you guys are in for quite the trip!! Sounds absolutely amazing! I cant wait to hear all about it :thumbsup2

Quebec city is always so much fun! Were from montreal and try to always head up to Quebec for a couple of days in the summer!!!

Enjoy the last bit of planning you have to do !!! :banana:

momrek06 06-28-2010 05:57 PM

I'M HERE!!! I'M HERE!!! :cool1:

How exciting, Kurbs!!!

PopArtGal 07-04-2010 09:08 AM

Here I am! :)

Kurby 07-05-2010 02:12 PM

Quebec City

We had a wonderful train ride from Toronto to Montreal. Cassandra was very excited to be travelling via the train. The only train she had been on before was our local inter city train called the GO.

We got to the station very early (I have this overwhelming fear that we're always going to be late and miss things and since we normally drive leaving a few minutes late doesn't really matter but being a few minutes late for the train means that we miss it all together.) and waited for my parents to arrive after picking up my Aunt.

30 minutes later we were on the train and headed for our quick (and I do mean quick) stop over in Montreal.

After settling in we brought out the lunch and really enjoyed our bagels filled with tuna, ham and cheese, cheesy cream (or cream cheese for Cassie :) ) and roast beef.

I thought for sure the motion of the train would send Cassandra off to lala land but 6 hours later we pulled into Montreal and Cassandra was in full form.

We were the last ones off the train since we had a lot of stuff and a stroller but somehow still managed to find ourself in the middle of the line for the escalator up to the waiting level for our connecting train.

by the time we got upstairs, found out where our next train was and made our way over there was only about 5 minutes until boarding.

We were standing there wondering just how we were going to manage to get down the stairs (no escalator this time) when someone from VIA came and asked us to move to another waiting area. My Aunt started asking all kinds of questions but I assured her that having been through similar things over the past 5 years we were being taken somewhere where either someone could help us down or there was an elevator. Sure enough it was an escalator and down we went.

Before long but still 5 minutes late we were off. 2 very early stops then before 3 hour journey to Quebec City.

We had brought chicken salads from Wendy's for dinner which non of us were really ready for but we all seemed to finish the chicken and some of the salad because we knew we wouldn't have time or it would be too late to have it later.

We arrived at 9.30 almost on the dot and it truly was the end of the line LOL if the driver had gone another 5 feet he would have smashed into the walkway.

No more then 7 minutes later the station was all but empty. Again we waited to be the last ones off but this time the station was flat and we just walked off and right to the cabs. A few people were left in front of us but less then 10 minutes later we were off to our hotel which was a very quick 5 minute drive from the station.

From the time we got on the train to walking through the door of our room was 9 3/4 hours. 2 hours sooner then I had thought it would be.

Our hotel

The Loby

Our Room

The view from our room is wonderful. We're facing the Parliament building, the river, the Chateau Frontenac and the Plains for Abraham all at once. They had a fantastic firework display last night not for Canada Day celebrations but for part of a 2 day display. Great music and singing though we couldn't understand it ;)

This morning we ordered a light breakfast in the room then headed out to explore the old walled Quebec City. Boy was it hot today. We took our time walking around the old streets, stopping every 5 feet or so to window shop LOL and finally made it to our favourite lunch restaurant Le Petit Chateau where Cassandra and I shared my favourite cheese fondue followed by Cassandra enjoying a strawberry and cream crape while Patrick and I shared a chocolate banana crape.

After lunch we wandered around the middle of the square, down some very old cobble streets, bought a few small paintings for the city and headed back to the hotel.

After resting for 2 hours Cassie and I headed to the hotel pool to enjoy the nice coooooool water. Did i mention it's HOT here. With very little wind the heat is just sitting here.

Tonight we're going to take a horse drawn carriage ride through the city and enjoy a guided tour the old fashion way :)

I forgot my mini cord so I can't upload any pictures until I get home but when I do i'll put the pictures in the days they were taken :)


we didn't do the horse and carriage ride tonight but had a lovely dinner in an italian restaurant

momrek06 07-05-2010 02:25 PM

Kurby, I did not realize you have already LEFT!!!

Sounds like a great start. The train ride and the lovely lunch!!! We will be excited to see all the pics once you get back!!! Your room sounds so lovely. And make sure you take pics of all your MEALS ... I want to see those meals you are describing. :love:

Thanks, sweetie, nice start to your wonderful family trip! :goodvibes

Kurby 07-07-2010 07:34 AM

Day 2

We got a later start to the day today. After letting Auntie sleep in until 9am we all got ready and headed down to the lower river section of the city for a late breakfast.

Breakfast was in a restaurant where the English translation is "The Crazy Pig" cute :)

It was FANTASTIC. I had read off the kids menu for Cassandra and she had decided on something until she heard Patrick and me talking about the "adult" menu with a flower shaped waffle and fruit. That was it. She changed her mind and wanted that. I had maple french toast yummy, Patrick the standard eggs which was anything but standard. Lovely creamy scrambled eggs with brie cheese and spinach, fresh cut home fries, toast and a lovely little fruit salad. Auntie had bacon, eggs, the little fruit cup, home fries, toast and some tofu looking veal pate thingy she said was different but lovely.


After breakfast we went for a walk around le petit champlain which is the small street above the restaurant. It was very hot and we slowly walked up the street, stopping to window shop and peek into one of my favourite glass shops (didn't buy anything this time) before stopping in the middle to sit for a spell and listen to a lovely guitarist playing some very nice soft music. Auntie ended up buying one 2 of his cd's to bring home.


Continuing on we headed towards the funicular (sp) and up to the Chateau Frontenac. We ducked into the hotel to find out about the hotel tour for tomorrow then jumped in a cab and took the 7 minute ride back to our hotel for a much needed peak of the heat afternoon rest.

We choose the 4pm city tour which picked us in front of our hotel before heading into the square to pick up all the other people. It was a wonderful, fun and information packed 2 hour tour that went all around the walled city, parliament, citadel, planes of Abraham, Joan of Arc garden, lower city, river and back to the Chateau. We decided on an Irish pub for dinner, good food but more expensive then any of us thought a pub would be.



This is a very special picture. I didn't know it at the time buy my aunt told me that just as i was taking this Cassie pulleder
her down and asked her if she remembered my uncle ace. when auntie said yes Cassie told her she missed him.
my uncle passed away 2 years ago and my aunt was a little shocked that Cassie still talks about him.

After dinner we took a long walk to where the horse and carriage rides departed from (this one was the location that was closer to our hotel when we finished) and had a wonderful 45 minute trip. Cassandra loved it though she fell asleep for about 10 minutes ;) . it was a warm night but with nice breezes that cooled us off after the long walk. Our ride took us through some of the same places we had gone during our city bus tour but at a much slower pace it we were able to really enjoy our view and I highly recommend both tours. The cost of the bus tour was about $35 each (Cassandra free) and $80 for the horse and carriage ride.

Our carriage ride ended around 10pm and we had a lovely walk back to our hotel taking some pictures and video along the way.


On a side note all this heat and walking is totally exhausting Cassandra and she's sleeping in until very late everyday. Might also help that her bed time has been moved til 10 or 11 every night :) but good for us not having to wake up at 6am while on vacation :)

momrek06 07-07-2010 10:21 AM

Sorry about all the heat ... is it hotter than usual there right now? The EAST coast is in the middle of a serious heat wave.

Isn't it awesome to be on vacation and sleep in a little. :goodvibes

Your meals are sounding so delicious. Remember, I want to see pics when you get home and are able to upload them.

The Tour sounded awesome. I always try to do tours if I am in a new city. :goodvibes

Kurby 07-08-2010 10:55 AM


Is Hell this hot???????

Today we started with a little sleep in. Instead of Cassandra waking up at 6am she gave us a break and wake at 7am. We headed down for breakfast and enjoyed a very nice meal in the Hilton's restaurant. Patrick, Cassandra and Helen had the buffet while I ordered the maple crapes off the menu.

With breakfast finished we hopped in a taxi and headed down to the Chateau for the hotel tour. It's not a terribly long walk, maybe about 15-20 minutes but with the heat we're having it's exhausting for all of us but we don't want to make it too hard on Helen. So 5 minutes later in the taxi we were there.

The tour guides are dressed in 1800's costumes and play a part. One is supposed to be the first guest - a wealthy women from New York, one (our guide) is a printer in the news department of the hotel and the last is a house maid.

Our tour began one floor up in front of the hotel restaurant and "mens bar and lounge" We were informed that the restaurant is only open from 6 - 10pm and only serves a 7 course and takes the full 4 hours. The "mens bar" was the bar and smoking lounge for the men but apparently a few women smoked back then and "snuck" into the lounge to light up while the nonsmoking women headed one floor up to the "Pink Room" in which we were told that the pillar in the middle of the room with the rounded/padded benches was called the "Jealousy bench" named for the women who would sit in the middle of the room while the others had dance partners.

We were then taken to one of the Jr. Suites and told that the hotel had expanded 6 times from the time it was built. It started with a lopsided horseshoe. The first addition was the completion of the horseshoe followed by the "crooked hall" named so after following the lines of the crooked street it parallels, the north wing, the joining wing, parking tower and finally the tall tower we recognize as the "Chateau Frontenac".

Up until the 1970's the maids used to live in the hotel and after the tower was built they stayed on the 18th floor. In the 70's times had changed and the maids were no longer living in the hotel (except 1) and the 18th floor was converted to the "Honeymoon" floor. Because of the design of the floor the rooms are smaller then the majority of the other rooms so to make them special they are the only ones with jacuzzis.

Back to that 1 maid. She became a house made back when she was 17 years old and read her contract very carefully and found that as long as she worked in the hotel she had a place to live for free with free meals, laundry and housing. Long after all the other housekeeping staff had turned over and contracts changed she was still working and living in the hotel. Eventually management asked her if she was going to move out of the hotel and when she informed them of her original contract that stated that she has free room and board as long as she works there they updated her room and allowed her to live there even after she retired until she passed away in the early 90's.

our guide taking us on a tour through the years of additions at the hotel

We were then shown a photo gallery that included Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Prince Andrew and Sara, several past presidents and some of the 1930's employee photos. Along that same hall was a lovely herb garden that can only be accessed via a window so no guests are able to get to it. Good thing too because they also have 4 bee hives there and they sell the honey that is produced in the gift shop.

Finally we were shown the very large ballroom. It is so large that it can hold up to 600 seated at tables or 1100 standing. The 16 huge chandeliers used to take up to 2 months once a year to clean but now with hydro-sonic machines it only takes 2 weeks - basically 1 day per chandelier.

After our tour we headed back to our hotel with plans of taking Cassandra for another swim in the pool only to find that the wisdom of the powers that be have closed the pool for 2 weeks in the middle of the summer so they can renovate the changing rooms. I can say that not only did I have a crying 4 year old on my hands I'm shocked and a bit ticked off that they would choose the summer when it's extremely hot (even without the heat wave it's still summer) to do this instead of waiting until the fall or winter when most people would stay out of the pool. When we did go the day after we arrived it was packed so i'm sure the guests are more then a little angry that they are paying the top end of the rates and don't have access to they pool.

Cassandra soon got over being upset she couldn't swim as I stuck her in the bath and played with some toys we brought for her. Soon it was time to get ready for our dinner cruise. We arrived almost an hour before it was time to board so that we could get a window table for the view and I was soon regreting that decision. Even though the dinner room had air conditioning it was an oven in there and those of us sitting in the windows were all dripping and trying our best to fan ourselves.

Dinner was a 5 course meal where we choose 1 appy and our main course. We started with a little amuse busch which was a mildly spicy samosa followed by a strange mini pasta or veggy noodle thingy. I was glad when our choice of appy came. I choose a taste of duck which included 3 different types of duck pate and was delicious. Helen ordered the lobster and soon wished she had ordered the seafood graton that Patrick had ordered. I ordered the chicken which was ok and Cassandra shared both my dinner but mostly Helen's. Dessert was the best part of the dinner. A beautiful light chocolate moose layered with very light almond crunch yummmy.

We had thoroughly enjoyed the 2 times we had been on this cruise before and had raved about it raved about it in the past and while we can't do anything about the heat we were disappointed with most of the meal and our server :(

We arrived back at the port at exactly 11pm and were back at our hotel by 11.30. Exhausted, Cassandra was sound asleep before Patrick even read one page of her book.

Tomorrow we're off to a 5 hour country side tour.

Kurby 07-09-2010 07:44 AM

Day 4

We got a late start to the day and headed down stairs for breakfast around 10am. Patrick and Cassandra again choose the buffet while Helen ordered eggs and toast and I had the eggs benedict. It was a nice breakfast

By the time we were finished we had about a 90 minute rest before bus was scheduled to pick us up for the 5 hour country side tour. Just enough time for Cassie and Patrick to get lost in their ipods watching a movie each.

Before long it was time to head down stairs and jump on the bus. We were the first of 5 hotels to get picked up so like the city tour we crabbed the front row of seats. It makes for a great view when you can see out of the front and not just the side windows.

Our tour today included the Montmorency Falls (which apparently is 1 1/2 times the height of Niagara falls even though an optical illusion with the width makes it look smaller), the Island of Orleans which was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535 and invaded by the British before they fought in Quebec City, the chocolaterie de L'Jle d'Orleans chocolate shop in the island, back to the mainland to visit Albert Gilles copper museum and shop, Chez Marie - a traditional bakery who's store and on the Beaupre coast is a 300+ year old house and finally Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. Sainte Anne was Mary's mother, making her Jesus' grandmother.

After freshening up upon our return when decided on the hotel restaurant for dinner. We all chose the same meal (except Cassandra) which was a very nice French onion soup and a burger with roasted pear and brie cheese. It added a different taste but it was nice.

Tonight was the start of the summer festival but we choose not to join the 100 plus thousand people who were expected on the Plains of Abraham instead opting for a much needed early night

Tomorrow will be a quiet day with packing, swimming and dinner. We don't have anything special planned.

CSwan1 07-09-2010 12:22 PM

It looks like we will be in Disney at the same time! We fly out 7/23 and spend the first 3 nights in a hotel by Sea World (have a conference there). On the 26th, we are going to Saratoga Springs for 4 nights and then Pop Century for 1 night. The best part.............................................. ............................

PopArtGal 07-09-2010 12:47 PM

I know. Can you believe how hot it is in Quebec. We are beating records!

PopArtGal 07-09-2010 12:49 PM

OMG "LE cochon dingue" is amazing!! I so wanted to tell you to go! lol

Kurby 07-09-2010 12:51 PM

yes yes that's the name of it - my aunt kept calling it the 3 little pigs - talk about confusion when i'm trying to tell the taxi driver where we wanted to go LOL

he kept looking at me with this strange look on his face

i finally told him to take us to boul champlain and we'd find it from there

PopArtGal 07-09-2010 12:54 PM

You are staying at the Hilton right? I stayed there once and had the same view you are talking about ;)

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