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Old 07-02-2013, 06:39 PM   #1
missx0xdelaney
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Countdown to Cupcakes! - An Independence Day Road Trip! Updated 11/8!

Hi all, welcome to my first trip report!*
While this is my first TR, it is not my first trip this year! My BF and I were able to come down at the end of January when we stayed at Pop Century for a week, at the end of May where we stayed offsite in Davenport for a little over a week, and now just 4 weeks later we're heading back to stay in an offsite timeshare! (Yay Annual Passes!) This time, we're being joined by some family!

As you can tell, there will be lots of tasty treats in this trip report! The majority of my planning time (and real life time, let's be honest) is devoted to scouring the depths of the internet for the best in Disney treats and meals! I loves the foods!

We are down to the last few days of the countdown and I am ecstatic! I'm pretty sure my boyfriend will kill me if I keep talking about all of the snacks I'm going to eat, so I figured I'd start a TR! I will be sharing restaurant reviews and lots of pictures. I will also (definitely) be Instagramming and (possibly) be tweeting. Feel free to follow me on either at @missx0xdelaney!


*(I had started a PTR for my January trip, but abandoned it due to some personal issues that almost stopped the trip from occurring.)
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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Countdown to Cupcakes! - An Independence Day Road Trip!

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Old 07-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #3
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Joining in can't wait to read more!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:35 PM   #4
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Let me introduce our cast:

Me, 23


I was the Rebel Spy on Star Tours!

Lover of all things Disney. First trip to WDW (and a Disney themed cruise in the pre-DCL era) at 2 years old, in addition to 8-10 other family trips throughout my childhood and one spur of the moment trip to DL in 2001 (one month shy of DCA opening :/). Favorite character is Winnie the Pooh. I am a seamstress/costumer/theatre junkie in my spare time when I'm not working my day job in retail. I also enjoy scrapbooking, watching Say Yes to the Dress, and of course surfing (lurking) on the DIS. I suffer from an addiction to FOOD PORN! I live for those hunger inspiring morsels of delicious! NOMS! Love polka dots, stripes, and anything (hot) pink or (lime) green. Self professed nerd: <3 Harry Potter, sci fi/fantasy, comic book movies (AVENGERS, omg!), and recent convert to the dark side of Star Wars! I am basically an 8 year old in a 23 year old's body!


BF, Tony, 28!


Tony and the appetizer feast we shared at Friday's!

Secretly loves Disney but pretends to be too cool. Went on one trip at about age 5 but only has fuzzy memories, so his first real trip was in May 2012. LOVES Stitch. Fan of the Pixar movies. Huge gamer, really into Call of Duty/Fallout type games. Also works in retail (at the same store, in the same department as me hehe). Avid reader (Stephen King), audiophile (obsessed with Incubus!), Superman fanatic (including a tattoo on his arm), and fellow superhero lover. Always up for a midnight movie release. Healthy appetite and loves to try new things to eat/drink. Could probably spend all day in the Japan pavilion if not forcibly dragged away. Turns into a big kid as soon as he enters the parks but doesn't care to do the planning. ("I'll get excited when I get there.")




Now for the family joining us!

Mom!


Mom with Mark before his graduation

My mom and her boyfriend will be joining us this trip! My mother LOVES Disney World and was last there in 2009 when she and my aunt brought my brother and one of our cousins (I was supposed to join but sadly retail employees can't go on vacation the week before Christmas... wompwomp!) She works in a hospital in the outpatient care center and ER, so she's glad to be getting away and relaxing. This will be her first vacation with both me and my brother since 2005 or so! So it's a long time coming!


Steve, Mom's boyfriend


Steve with my mom on the ferry to Ellis Island

Steve is not too excited to be going back to Disney since he took his daughter several times when she was younger. I think he'll warm up once we get there. He's looking forward to relaxing and possibly heading to the water parks or Universal for a day. He works for Siemens so we get to check out the awesome Siemens lounge in Spaceship Earth!


Mark, my brother


Mark with Megan in Times Square

Mark is 18 years old and he just graduated from high school last month. He will be starting school at our local community college in the fall (where does the time go?). He was a member of tech crew for his school's drama department. Huge fan of anime, and pretty much everything Asian. I swear, his main reasons for coming are the Japan and China pavilions! For the past two years, he's attended Anime Central (ACen) convention in Chicago, like Comic Con in San Diego, but mainly focused on anime shows. He's always working on costumes from his favorite web comic, Homestuck, and is greatly anticipating purchasing a set of Chewbacca Mickey ears.


Megan, Steve's daughter


Meg at Ground Zero

Meg is a typical 15 year old and is getting pretty excited to go. She had many suggestions on where we should eat, so it will be fun to see how she enjoys the ones we ended up with! She, like Mark, is an anime superfan. We'll just have to keep these two away from the Japanese department store! She's also looking forward to meeting some characters! (Me too!)


On top of our immediate cast, some friends of mine from work also have overlapping vacations to the world! My friend Valerie will be arriving a few days after us on Sunday with her husband Harry and their adorable 5 year old, Jack! (Named after Nightmare Before Christmas, of course!) My friend Lauri and her fiancee Joe (who also used to work with us!) will be down Thursday-Sunday, the 4-7. Valerie and I made plans to meet up on our Magic Kingdom day so we can meet the princesses together! For some reason, Tony doesn't want to go! Party pooper! It will be fun to see if we run into each other elsewhere (especially since Valerie and Harry don't carry their phones while they're in the parks! Eek!).
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Countdown to Cupcakes! - An Independence Day Road Trip!

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Old 07-02-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelabrezovsky View Post
Joining in can't wait to read more!!
Welcome! Thanks for following along!
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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In for your TR!
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #7
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When? Where? Why? (Is that really a question?)

OMG you guys. I can't believe I'm one day from leaving for Disney again! At this time tomorrow, we'll be on the road! Eek! I still have to get my oil changed and find our "WDW AP" magnets for the car! I wish we could just leave now! At least I'm officially on vacation! Anyways, now that you've met the cast of our little jaunt, here's the details:

When: July 5(ish) to July 12(ish)..... BECAUSE IT'S A ROAD TRIP! We were originally planning on flying, but after waiting months for tickets to come down, we gave in. This will be my 3rd time driving down in the last 13 months! Each time I keep saying that I never want to drive again and then I get roped into it anyway. This delights Tony, as he loves a nice long road trip. I hate how it cuts into my Disney time! We are leaving at 11 am on July 4 because Tony has to work in the morning. The others are leaving at 6 am because they want to beat the traffic I guess? and don't want to wait for us. Tony and I decided we would just drive down at our own pace and pick a resting point when we get tired, although we're not going to be surprised if we actually make better time. I think we actually will since we're now so comfortable with the route. Still not comfortable with the fact that it's an 18 HOUR DRIVE from Chicago to Orlando, though!


Where: Legacy Vacation Club Lake Buena Vista (time share).




We spent a good chunk of time trying to pick a Disney resort, but since we needed 2 rooms for 6 people (or an outrageously priced suite), we thought we'd look elsewhere. Steve owns a timeshare and found out he could switch his week in Cancun to a resort near Disney! Can't get a better price than something you already own! We'll be staying in a 2 bedroom condo with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and even a den with a sleeper sofa and kitchenette! As much as I'd rather stay onsite, we'll have some pretty wonderful amenities!



Why: Why not?! But seriously, when we got back from our January vacation we already started planning the next times we'd be able to go. We were looking at a weekend trip for Star Wars Weekends, and were going to have my brother tag along for his graduation, which somehow evolved into a family trip. Everyone was getting pretty pumped.. until my mom talked to her work and found out there were vacation blackout dates for a computer system rollout they were going to be doing. The entire months of May and June were a no go. Steve eventually checked with his time share and found out the week of July 5th was available... From there it was a plan!
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #8
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Adrs


EEE! I've got my oil changed, all of my bags are in the car, and Tony's in bed for his last shift in the morning! I still need to get some wiper fluid and tidy up the car a bit... so close! Without further ado, on with the plans!

ADRS

Bongos Cuban Cafe - This Downtown Disney restaurant will host our dinner on our first full day. This is the only one I don't know much about, but if nothing else, at least it sounds fun!

Sci Fi Dine In Theater - I <3 Sci Fi. Tony and I have gone here on 3 of our last 4 trips (and almost went on the 4th, but thought it might be overkill haha). This is sure to be a highlight of the trip because everyone requested we go there. This is one of the places my family always wanted to visit when my brother and I were younger but my parents never made ADRS (doh! ) so we could never get in. We will be visiting for lunch.

'Ohana - AHHH. So excited for this breakfast! We all love Lilo and Stitch (especially Tony) and everyone wanted a character meal so this was perfect! I've heard so many good things about this place! I'm secretly hoping we fall in love so I can come back for dinner and try the noodles and the glorious bread pudding!

Whispering Canyon Cafe - This is another anticipated stop! I've been trying to get there for a few trips now and it hasn't happened. The skillet NEEDS to enter my life! Plus the hijinks will be excellent with so many people. Also, visiting the Wilderness Lodge will totally get Tony and me amped up for our September stay at the Fort Wilderness campground!

Via Napoli - I'm dying to go here. Every photo I've seen of the pizza from here looks amazing! Plus, being raised in an Italian family really makes you appreciate the cuisine! We'll need to see how the sauce compares to my grandmother's secret recipe-rumored to be kept in a safety deposit box! And of course, Italian desserts, nom!

Coral Reef - This is a repeat visit for me and Tony. We last were there on our May 2012 trip and definitely fell in love. We arrived early for lunch and asked to wait for seats near the windows, and not only did that grant our wish, but they also took us early! On top of that excellent service, the food is to die for! I can't wait to come back and I'm hoping our 11:30 reservation is early enough to get a nearby seat again (although I'm afraid being a party of 6 might hurt our chances).


This was literally right next to our table!
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:07 AM   #9
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Schedule

Ahh! It's so close to time to go! I'm supposed to be sleeping so I can take the first shift, but I can't possibly stay in bed any longer! Way too excited! I think I'm going to finish packing the car and last minute errands before Tony is back so we can hit the road asap! With that in mind, here's what our plans look like!

Tentative Schedule


Thursday July 4 - Departure from home! Mom, Steve, Mark and Megan are leaving at 6 am; Tony and I will be leaving around 12 pm. They plan on stopping for the night in Macon, GA (about a 12 hour drive according to Maps). We plan on stopping whenever we feel too tired - we're thinking around Nashville or Chattanooga.

Friday July 5 - Arrival in Florida! My mom told me earlier that she thinks they'll be at the hotel around 12 pm (we'll see). I think we'll probably get an early start and be there by late afternoon. I tentatively have Epcot scheduled as our park for this evening.

Saturday July 6 - Animal Kingdom - Since this park closes earlier, we'll have dinner at Downtown Disney. I thought Bongos seemed like a good place to welcome us to our trip! We have our dinner reservation there at 7 pm.

Sunday July 7 - Hollywood Studios - This day we have lunch at Sci Fi. It's at 1:20 so we'll probably grab something light for breakfast and then come here before taking an afternoon break.

Monday July 8 - Magic Kingdom - I am very much looking forward to this day! First we have breakfast at 'Ohana at 9:05 am. Then when we get to MK, I'll be meeting up with my friend Valerie and meeting princesses with her little heartbreaker, Jack!

Tuesday July 9 - Animal Kingdom/Magic Kingdom - This morning we'll finish up checking out AK and then head to MK later in the day for our 6:30 pm ADR at Whispering Canyon Cafe! I'm adding that we're celebrating my brother's graduation here, so hopefully they give him a hard time!

Wednesday July 10 - Hollywood Studios - Wednesday is another DHS morning! Must get TSMM fastpasses! We'll hang out there most of the day until it's time for a meal which I've dubbed my birthday dinner - Via Napoli! My birthday is July 28, and since our September trip is for Tony's birthday, I wanted to celebrate mine too! We'll be headed there at 6:20.

Thursday July 11 - Epcot - Today we'll try to make rope drop for those elusive Test Track fastpasses! If I ride nothing else but this ride, I'll be pleased! We also have lunch at Coral Reef at 11:30 for our last full day at WDW.

Friday July 12 - Animal Kingdom - I picked this park based on the Touring Plans recommendations, but I'm not sure whether everyone will be keen on going there a third day. We're also not sure what time we'll be leaving to start the long, sad trek home. Technically, we COULD stay another night, but that would mean we'd probably have to drive straight through on Saturday to make it home for a bridal shower for my cousin that my mom and I were invited to.

Saturday July 13 - Still driving hoooommmeeee. WAH.

Sunday July 14 - Hopefully already home, but possibly still arriving. eek! Bridal shower is at 1 pm, I believe.

Also not factored in to this are possible visits to Disney Quest, the water parks, and Universal. (Mostly the others are planning these. Their discounted Siemens tickets included Waterparks and More, plus they want to do Harry Potter. I'm dying to get there too, but I feel like I'd rather spend more than one day with the high prices.)
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:26 AM   #10
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Coming from my trip report.

You are driving right past me today!!! We usually do the stop in Chattanooga. It's not much farther than Nashville, less traffic and cheaper hotel rooms.

Safe trip!
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelley00 View Post
Coming from my trip report.

You are driving right past me today!!! We usually do the stop in Chattanooga. It's not much farther than Nashville, less traffic and cheaper hotel rooms.

Safe trip!
Oh wow! That's what we were thinking. Although, as it turned out, we decided to stop at a rest area just passed Chattanooga around 11 pm. I woke up from dozing and i think it was after 1:30 and we were 2 hours past Atlanta (1 hour past Macon). BF had a Red Bull and "just felt like driving!" Lol. The rest of the fam ended up 2 hours past Macon.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:04 PM   #12
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Hi everyone! I'm back from my trip (and my first day back to work ). I took lots of notes during the week and I just need to get my pictures uploaded and I'll start posting! The trip didn't turn out exactly as we planned, but I think we made the most of it!
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:06 PM   #13
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July 4 - Road Trip Day 1!

Hi all! I'm finally ready to start my TR! I have the majority of pictures ready to go now. That's partly to blame for dragging my feet. I'm also moving right now, so it's been a little crazy! Without further ado, here's the first installment of our journey!


JULY 4, 2013 - ROAD TRIP DAY 1!


On the morning of the 4th, Tony had to work at 4 am, but I was off so I was supposed to stay in bed until he got home so I could take the first shift driving. In reality, I got woken up at 6 by a text from my brother responding to a question I'd asked the night before. After that I couldn't really get back to sleep - way too excited! Tony kept texting me and posting on my Facebook telling me that I should be sleeping.... ummm, yeah right! Instead, I made a bunch of ecstatic posts, such as this one on Instagram!

missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago

OMG you guys! I'm supposed to be sleeping so I can take the first shift, but I'm too excited! #disneybound #wdw #roadtrip


Around 8, he texted to let me know he'd be getting out early so I started getting the car together. I cleaned all of the trash and random items from the car, then loaded up the luggage. As I was outside, Tony's grandpa returned from his morning walk and asked if I checked the fluids in the car. I had not, so he did it for me. Then the wait began. Tony ended up leaving work an hour early at 10, but then not long after called to say he got a flat tire! Argh! He had a spare so it was all okay, but it took so long to deal with! I was already pretty antsy by this point!

I tweeted: Arielle Hughes ‏@missx0xdelaney 4 Jul
Ahhhhh dying to leave and Tony got a flat on the way back from work! :/ #independencedayroadtrip #disneybound


I sat around surfing the web on my phone waiting for Tony to get back, which finally happened... at pretty much the same time it would have if he'd left work on time. UGH! He got home and started filling the coolers while I ran to grab gas. His grandparents let me use their Sam's Club card, so it was super cheap!



Then when I got back and we tried to pay them, they refused to take the money! So that was a nice, unexpected surprise! After doing a final onceover and putting our AP magnet on the back of the car, we were good to go! I think we finally hit the road around 12:30-1:00, which was nice because there was very little traffic around! I spent most of the morning finding music for our playlists so the time flew.... especially after I fell asleep after we stopped for dinner. I woke up around 11 pm and we were past Chattanooga, right where we had planned to stop. We looked on my Rest Stop app to see where the next one was and picked one about 30 miles past the Tennessee-Georgia border.

I fell back asleep and then dozed off again until we pulled into the rest stop. Then I realized it was almost 1:30 in the morning and I had no idea where we were! Tony had bought a Red Bull while filling up for gas and just "felt like driving"... Uhh, okay? We were actually getting MORE gas at this stop, because that's how far he had driven. It turned out that we were actually almost near the Georgia-FLORIDA line! We got much further than the others did (by about an hour). We finally made it to a rest stop and fell right asleep. (We almost got a room, but the rates were higher than we had wanted to pay, so we figured why not save it for the trip?)
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:23 PM   #14
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July 5 Part One - Road Trip Day 2/Downtown Disney!

July 5, 2013 Part One- Road Trip Day 2/Downtown Disney!

We got up around 6 am and I was oddly wide awake and starving! I got back in the drivers' seat and headed back on the highway, but stopped soon after at the first McDonald's I saw! I got this yummy treat!

missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago

Road trip breakfast of champions! #independencedayroadtrip #road trip #wdw #mcds #mcdonalds #eggwhitedelight


Those things are so good it's sinful! I never thought I'd prefer egg whites to a regular egg, but they've done it! Besides, it's not a road trip without some Mickey D's! We got in touch with the other convoy and found out they just woken up. They made it on the road about an hour after us, but just in time for us to pass by their exit. By the time we made it into Florida, we were around 45 minutes ahead of them. After driving for a few hours, I was getting tired, so I stopped at the first Starbucks we saw, which happened to be in Gainesville. When I opened my Starbucks app for my gift card, I saw something exciting!

missx0xdelaney 3 weeks ago

Awwww yeah! #starbucks #starbucksrewards #goldlevel #junkie


For those of you who aren't Starbucks addicts like I am, the Starbucks Rewards program gives you a star each time you purchase a drink with a Starbucks card that is registered on their site. You start with the Welcome level, which means you've registered your card, and you get a free birthday drink. After earning 5 stars, you advance to the Green level, and gain the new perk of free refills on hot or iced coffee or tea! After getting 30 hard-earned stars, you make it to the prestigious Gold level! Gold level gets you a free drink every 12 stars plus a PERSONALIZED GOLD STARBUCKS CARD! I cannot express how excited I am about this. Oh, by the way... did I mention that I reached Gold level today??? DYING. Sorry for that interruption.... now back to your regularly scheduled trip report!

After that refreshing layover, we headed back out for the final stretch. I got to be a passenger again and caught up on reading some trip reports. After what seemed like forever, we finally started seeing the signs we love so much telling us how near to Disney we were getting! And then, we got stuck in traffic on I-4 for what seemed like forever. Luckily Tony was able to check out Google Maps and find an alternate route. A few minutes later we were at our hotel right outside the gates near Downtown Disney! And then the torrential downpour began! It seemed like buckets of water were being dumped on the windshield, but then after about 10 minutes it stopped.

By then the others had arrived, except we didn't see their car. After a few minutes of confusion, I realized I drove too far through the parking lot and we were actually parked at the lobby of the hotel next door to ours. Oops! We made our way to the correct lobby and found the kids sitting in the van waiting for the adults to check in. And waiting. And waiting. We sent them in to see what the hold up was. Still not sure but eventually they came out and we found out that we couldn't check in until 4.

We decided it was lunchtime! We knew the perfect spot to go..... EARL OF SANDWICH. I realized before stopping at Starbucks that we'd make it early enough to eat there and I couldn't wait. I posted on Foursquare:

Arielle Hughes ‏@missx0xdelaney 5 Jul
Noms! Welcome to Disney! (at @EarlofSandwich w/ 3 others) http://4sq.com/1cZyg25


We ordered:

Me - Italian - Oh my, so much noms! This is my staple! So good Tony had one too.


Steve - Ham & Swiss - Didn't try.


Mom - Chicken, Bacon, & Avocado Wrap - This was really tasty!


I believe this one belonged to Meg with the slush, but not sure what it's a half of! (This is what happens when I let people take their own pictures.)


Mark - BLT! There wasn't enough for me to try. Don't mess with a boy and his bacon!

Everyone loved their food. I tried some of the wraps, which were tasty, but nothing compares to that hot melty sandwich.

After we were done with the meal it was still too early to check in so we did a little shopping. We went right to the Once Upon a Toy store to get something Tony had been waiting all month to buy: Who Framed Roger Rabbit on bluray! It was cheaper there than online ($19.99), and we couldn't find it anywhere in our area, so it was a good buy.

After he made his purchase, we continued on, stopping in TrenD, the Team Mickey store, and the crystal store that are all in a row. Tony wanted to stop in Basin to get some bath bombs, but we couldn't remember whether our room had bathtubs or not, so he didn't buy anything. That didn't stop us from spending an outrageous amount of time there! I would die for a cabinet full of products from there. When we left, my hands felt so soft!
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:02 PM   #15
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July 5 Part Two - Checking in at Legacy Vacation Club!

July 5, 2013 Part Two - Checking in at Legacy Vacation Club!

By this point, it was around 3:30, and Steve wanted to head back and try to check in again. Luckily, when we got back there, our room WAS ready, so we got the keys and unloaded everything. Our condo was located kitty-corner from the lobby building and a little down. Perfect walking distance to the pool! As soon as we opened the door, we were amazed at how much space there was! There were pictures on the website, but it didn't look nearly as spread out.


The view of the kitchen, dining room and living room from the doorway



Kitchen



In between the kitchen and dining area was this nice nook for extra space. There was a stereo system in the cabinets. We used the ledge for snacks and sunscreen!



The living room from the dining area



Living room



To the right of the living room was the master bedroom.



Television in master bedroom



Master bathroom!



Whirlpool tub in master bathroom!



Lovely courtyard outside living room window



To the right of the kitchen, a separate hallway with a door connected to the other two bedrooms - Megan stayed in this one.



Television and closet in second bedroom



Second bathroom, this one had a jet tub too!



Finally, the den, where Tony and I stayed! We had a sofa bed and small table and chairs set.



Here's our tv and coffee table. Behind me is a kitchenette setup with sink, microwave, fridge and entire set of dishes!
__________________
Ari (me) Tony (dbf) - Annual Passholders since Jan 2013!
FUTURE FLORIDA RESIDENTS! - March 2014!



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