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Old 09-07-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Our First Summer Trip! 3 Canucks Tackle Orlando in August: A Trip Report (Complete!)

Hello again everyone . Welcome to my second trip report!

For those who read through my first attempt at trip reporting earlier this year (joining in on reminiscing about our adventures at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld and Discovery Cove from during New Years week ... see link to that thread in my signature below), I am glad to have you along for the ride once again .

Those hopping aboard for the first time, its nice to have you! I always enjoy the opportunity to make more friends .

So.......let's get to it, shall we?

First off, a small introduction. Let me introduce you to my cast of "characters" (don't worry, this will be quick and painless ):



That's me in the middle. But I am certain you already guessed that. I am Gina, mom to the guy on the right and wife to the guy on the left. An admittedly Type A personality, I share alot of traits with Monica from Friends. I hope you won't hold that against me .

On the left is Steve, my husband of 19 years. He is the exact opposite of me: physically, emotionally, and mentally. He's technically oriented where I'm academically oriented. He's calm where I'm high-strung. He goes with the flow where I must have everything organized at every moment or I tend to come unglued. He's tall and I'm short. Yet somehow, our differences seem to draw us even closer together. Go figure. Sometimes good things just can't be completely explained. .

On the right is Jake. My boy. He's 16 years old, and just completed grade 10 in June. Not a day goes by I don't thank my lucky stars for this kid. You will see his sense of humour in many of the pics that I will be posting in this review. He is awesome at humouring his picture-crazy mother at all the cheesy photo ops we stumble across on our vacations. And he's becoming quite a good photographer himself....most of the pics of me you will see are taken by Jake, because God love Steve, he can't seem to take a good picture to save his life (and the ones that he eventually gets are the sixth, seventh, or eighth attempt ).

And so.....that's us. And we are about to embark on a week in the Florida sun. At least, we hope there will be some sun. Did someone say it rains alot in Florida in August?
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899



Last edited by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina; 09-12-2012 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:08 PM   #2
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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A brief description of how this trip came to be.....

Our other two Orlando vacations have both been in January. We love escaping the Ontario winters for a week in the balmy Florida temperatures. That said, during our getaways we never seemed to have the proper weather for enjoying days at the waterparks, so our attraction wish-list still had a few items that needed to be addressed. On our way home on January 7th, after enduring a few pretty cold days over the course of that week (think winter-coat-and-mittens-cold) Jake remarked....."Someday we have to go back when we can do a waterpark. Like when its guaranteed to be hot."

And that, my friends, was the point where the lightbulb went off . Within two weeks, we were booked to go back. Yes, its a sickness.

Fast forward seven months, and its Saturday, August 25th. After fretting about the potential disruption of the newly-upgraded Hurricane Isaac and becoming obsessed with weather watching, it was finally time to pack up the truck and head to Syracuse, NY.



It was the perfect day for a road trip, and hard to believe that as we were enjoying absolutely perfect, sunshiny weather the Florida Keys were getting whipped by winds and rain and Isaac's fury.

The drive from our home to Syracuse is really quite uneventful. Quiet and uninterrupted all the way to the border. No real traffic issues.....until we reach the actual border crossing. Ugh.



Yes, that was us, stopped in a sea of cars a full 1/2 km away from the actual customs agents. This is going to take a while.

One full HOUR later, we finally get moving. And before we know it, its over the bridge to the USA :



By Watertown, the boys were starving (but who I am kidding? they are ALWAYS starving ), so we stopped at Friendly's for lunch. Its one of our favourites when in the States.





Normally I can possess some decent willpower when it comes to desserts (despite my wicked sweet tooth), however on this trip I decided to throw caution to the wind and enjoy all the yummy delicacies that the restaurants decided to throw at me. If my boys were going to be indulging, they couldn't have all the fun. It just wouldn't be fair . So we topped off our meal with these beauties and declared vacation officially underway:



One more hour and we'll be pulling into the park-and-fly hotel. Just about enough time for that ice cream to stop sitting like a lump in the pit of my stomach .

Next stop: the Candlewood Suites Syracuse Airport!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 09-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
pooksma
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Yay!!!!!

Happy to be reading along again
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ASMo March '04 , POP ~ July '05, POP/POLY~August '07, CBR~August '08,
POFQ with the Spragues-August '09, POP with more newbies-Dec 25-27, 2010- POFQ August 2011, Disney Dream March '13, POP-July '13


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Old 09-07-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
jennyjinx3
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Nice to put a face to your name! May I join in?
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:49 PM   #5
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyjinx3 View Post
Nice to put a face to your name! May I join in?
But of course!!! Glad to have you along!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 09-07-2012, 09:05 PM   #6
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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We rolled into the Candlewood Suites parking lot before 3 pm, so we were very pleased with our timing.





It took us a while to get settled into our room, as the smell of cigarette smoke seemed to be everywhere and it necessitated two room switches before we found one we could live with. The staff were very accommodating and super friendly, but reality is this isn’t a smoke free hotel and its very, very evident (note to future travellers: the front desk said that they had been approved to go smoke-free as of January 1st, 2013....so improvements are near.....but not near enough in my book!!).

The room was large and we had lots of space to spread out. We had a fully separate bedroom with a queen sized bed, a living area with a pull-out couch, a full kitchen, and a big bathroom.







There is no pool at this property, but there is a fitness centre, a great barbecue area outside and free laundry facilities.

Proximity to the airport is excellent (it took the shuttle maybe 5 minutes, tops, to transport us door-to-door) and the shuttle is free of charge. We paid $129.99 for the one-night’s stay and a week’s parking, and we earned ourselves some Priority Club points at the same time.
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 09-07-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Originally Posted by pooksma View Post
Yay!!!!!

Happy to be reading along again
Hey there, pooksma! Glad to have you back!!!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 09-18-2012, 04:57 PM   #8
sportel
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Gina, I really enjoyed reading your trip report. You've left me wanting a summer trip to Florida! I will be sooooo happy if my boys grow into young men who appreciate a good cross-border shipping trip like your son! Right now we plan all shopping trips by proximity to a good pool, and I dash around the shops while the boys swim!

Thanks for sharing your experiences!
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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Loved the trip report, already looking forward to your December one. Got a kick again out of the pictures in Watertown, we were right at Friendly's back in July. Always a must stop when we go back. Looking forward to hitting the Friendlys in Orlando this November. This will be out first trip to Discovery Cove and Aquatica so your pictures got us even more excited.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportel View Post
Gina, I really enjoyed reading your trip report. You've left me wanting a summer trip to Florida! I will be sooooo happy if my boys grow into young men who appreciate a good cross-border shipping trip like your son! Right now we plan all shopping trips by proximity to a good pool, and I dash around the shops while the boys swim!

Thanks for sharing your experiences!
Aw, thanks!

My son was the same as your boys when he was younger.......family trips were definitely all about the swimming . He was about 11 or 12 when clothing and sportswear started to become important. I must admit I enjoy his affinity for shopping.....he is such a clone of my husband in every other way, and I'll never have a daughter, so I treasure this side of my athletic and rough-and-tumble boy . And I hope along the way I'm teaching him how to be fiscally responsible......he's a fantastic saver, has great money sense, and can seek out a deal as well as I can......which are all good life skills too.

The summer trip was definitely VERY different from our winter getaways. Equally as fun and amazing, but a totally different feel. I am so glad we have had a chance to experience both the summer and winter seasons in Orlando. We are super excited to be there for the Christmas season this year too . Someday, I want to visit at Halloween as well......I love the pics of the Disney decorations in October!!!!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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