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Old 01-17-2013, 12:49 PM   #151
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We've been to both Disney waterparks many, many times. Both are lots of fun and offer different things. I think in general our fav is TL but my fav slide is the tobaggan racers at BB.

Make sure you get there early in the morning. Best time is a little before they open so that you can get a shady spot to call home for the day. Also, be aware that if there are any storms in the area they will close the park and make everyone leave. One last tip....consider watershoes. The cement gets really hot and also going around barefoot opens the door to injuries. The last thing you want on vacay is a broken toe.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:54 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by dancin Disney style View Post
We've been to both Disney waterparks many, many times. Both are lots of fun and offer different things. I think in general our fav is TL but my fav slide is the tobaggan racers at BB.

Make sure you get there early in the morning. Best time is a little before they open so that you can get a shady spot to call home for the day. Also, be aware that if there are any storms in the area they will close the park and make everyone leave. One last tip....consider watershoes. The cement gets really hot and also going around barefoot opens the door to injuries. The last thing you want on vacay is a broken toe.
We purchased water shoes for our August 2012 vacation and they were LIFESAVERS. I don't know how people could walk on that pavement in the middle of the afternoon without burning the bottoms of their feet . They are obviously tougher folks than we are.

We were also shocked at how beat up those shoes were at the end of our getaway. I guess you don't really realize how much abuse your tooties take in the lazy rivers, on the paved walkways, etc. Worth every penny IMHO.

We are going to try and plan very little for this trip so we can be really, really flexible and just go with whatever Mother Nature throws at us. We always hope for a week of sunshine but heaven knows what we will end up with . As long as there are no hurricanes, its all good .

ETA......where did you decide to stay for your Christmas trip? Details, please!!! :-)
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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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #153
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Yeah for the new ticker!!

I called about the Shrek breakfast but they said to wait until 60 days before you will be visiting to make the ressie--so I have it on my calendar...

We may have to try that mini golf place as well. It looks beautiful. We are going for 2 weeks this time (a first) so we will be looking for other things to do besides park time!!

Looking forward to Niagara Falls! Never been, but would love to go if we can ever give up our Disney vacations!!
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:46 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina View Post
Yes......we just booked our August getaway this morning!!!

The plan is to do both Disney waterparks (I think we will purchase waterpark AP's for each of us), to visit Cocoa Beach, and to do a whole lotta relaxing. We have never been to the Disney waterparks nor Cocoa Beach, so even after 4 trips, we are still finding new things to explore. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (another first) and I am soooo excited to have a ticker again!
Oooh I can't wait to hear about your trip to SVR! That one has been on our list since we first decided to stay offsite for our 2014 getaway.

Congrats on booking!
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:09 PM   #155
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Yeah for the new ticker!!

I called about the Shrek breakfast but they said to wait until 60 days before you will be visiting to make the ressie--so I have it on my calendar...

We may have to try that mini golf place as well. It looks beautiful. We are going for 2 weeks this time (a first) so we will be looking for other things to do besides park time!!

Looking forward to Niagara Falls! Never been, but would love to go if we can ever give up our Disney vacations!!
If you are looking to do mini golf, we give top marks to both Congo River (which was the place we golfed this trip) and Pirates Cove. Both are immaculately maintained and beautifully themed. We have also done Gator Golf, Hawaiian Rumble and Volcano Island, all on International Drive. The three latter can be much more cost effective but aren't nearly as nice. I am thinking a return trip to Pirates Cove might be in order for August.

Niagara Falls is not to be missed. Well worth a trip!! (but from May - October only, as winters are not nearly as fun). We have been more times than I can count, and always find something new and fun to do. But its expensive......much more so than Orlando. We actually compared a week in NF with 8 nights in Orlando for this summer, and Orlando was a better value....similar price and much more for our money. Then we save on our shopping and dining, so we actually come out ahead (and that's including flight).

lol....I am almost tempted to do the Shrek breakfast again in August. I love character meals!

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Oooh I can't wait to hear about your trip to SVR! That one has been on our list since we first decided to stay offsite for our 2014 getaway.

Congrats on booking!
Thank you!! We are very excited to try out the Vistana Resort.......our other short-listers were Orange Lake (much more expensive), Bonnett Creek (no daily housekeeping) and the Sheraton Vistana Villages (same price as SVR, but since SVR is bigger, we thought it might offer more amenities for our non-waterpark days....and the rating on TripAdvisor was much higher for SVR). I have much research to do as to room location requests. Something to fill my time for the next few months!!!
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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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-17-2013, 04:37 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina View Post
Yes......we just booked our August getaway this morning!!!

The plan is to do both Disney waterparks (I think we will purchase waterpark AP's for each of us), to visit Cocoa Beach, and to do a whole lotta relaxing. We have never been to the Disney waterparks nor Cocoa Beach, so even after 4 trips, we are still finding new things to explore. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (another first) and I am soooo excited to have a ticker again!
Cocoa beach.....aahhhh, we could have just stayed right there. Every one of us absolutely loved it. We hated to leave. Iam sure August will be awesome, we went in December. It was "unseasonably warm" is what locals had said.
We also had went to Siesta Beach(Gulf of Mexico, approx 2hrs from where we stayed in Kissimmee) but that just doesn't compare to the ocean for us. We love the waves, the sounds, all of it. Whats funny is that some people we talked to at Siesta Beach said they never go to the ocean, they love the warmer water and calmness of the gulf. So to each their own :-) would love to go and stay at cocoa beach for a few days.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:10 AM   #157
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Cocoa beach.....aahhhh, we could have just stayed right there. Every one of us absolutely loved it. We hated to leave. Iam sure August will be awesome, we went in December. It was "unseasonably warm" is what locals had said.
We also had went to Siesta Beach(Gulf of Mexico, approx 2hrs from where we stayed in Kissimmee) but that just doesn't compare to the ocean for us. We love the waves, the sounds, all of it. Whats funny is that some people we talked to at Siesta Beach said they never go to the ocean, they love the warmer water and calmness of the gulf. So to each their own :-) would love to go and stay at cocoa beach for a few days.
I am VERY excited about our beach day (or days....who knows, we may even make it there twice, depending on the weather and how much we enjoy it!). I have never seen the ocean before, so this is a big item on my bucket list. Steve and Jake both have, but not moi.

Glad to here your family enjoy it so much!!

Ah, beach dreamin' when its -15 outside this morning. C'mon, 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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-18-2013, 01:10 PM   #158
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Our Christmas trip, the final chapter.

Touching down at the Buffalo airport just shortly after our scheduled landing time (not sure why we were a tad behind schedule…..that’s a first for us when flying Jetblue), we were off the plane in no time flat. We gathered our luggage, beckoned the shuttle, and stepped out into the frosty air.

Cue the loud moans, groans, and whining here.

Arriving back at the hotel, we discovered the truck buried in a heap of snow. Sensing it would be a while before we were on the road, I sent Jake into the hotel to gather the package that we had ordered before we left, but that hadn’t arrived by the time we left for our flight to Orlando (we advised the front desk staff that it would be arriving shortly after our departure, and they promised to keep it safe until we got home). Steve set to the task of clearing the mounds of snow off the Journey, and me? Well, I did the good motherly and wifely duty of tending to our caffeine requirements and went to purchase us all a Tim Hortons coffee and donut (ahhhhh……the comforts of home……nothing like the welcoming aroma of a Timmie’s double-double).

Eventually Steve emerged with snow-free truck and frozen fingers. We loaded the luggage (and Jake’s Christmas box from the front desk) and were on our way.

After our amazing border crossing en route to Buffalo, we had high hopes for this crossing as well. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t with us the second time around, and we were shocked to see the line-up for customs backed up right across the Rainbow Bridge and through the toll booth. Well, I guess this would take a while. And darn it all, I had to use the loo. Ag-oh-nee.

I must say, the view of the Falls from the Rainbow Bridge is quite a sight to see. But not when you have to pee…..all that water, rushing over the falls……..well, it made me have to pee more. D’oh!

Making it finally to a border agent after about a 50 minute wait in the line (they seemed to be checking EVERYONE’S trunks), the female guard chatted endlessly with us about our getaway (Steve joked afterward that either she was really, really trying to see if our story changed as the questions continued, or she was looking for tips and advice for her own family next season…….she asked us everything from how the weather was to if we missed our families while we were away to what kind of deals we found at the outlet malls…..very odd questions, but happily easy to answer!). Surprisingly, she never even asked to see inside the hatch of the truck, even with Jake’s unopened brown UPS shipment sitting in full view on the seat.

Thankfully for my bulging bladder, our Niagara Falls hotel was just a short drive from the Falls themselves. We dashed into the Best Western Cairn Croft on Lundy’s Lane to check in, use the loo, then decided to grab a nice dinner before settling in for the night. We were reaching the point of traveller’s weariness where we knew if we stopped, we’d be stopped for the night.

A Falls favourite of ours is the Italian establishment, Mick & Angelos (as seen on Man v. Food). Just a block or two from the Cairn Croft, we were there in a matter of minutes and seated immediately. We enjoyed a delicious (and quiet) meal together, rather subdued but not in a bad way (more like a comfortable, contented way). Between being so very tired and that “it’s good to be home” feeling (yes, I know we weren’t truly “home” yet, but we were back on Canadian soil), I think we were all rather reflective in our thoughts. I didn’t even take any photos.

Following dinner, it was back to the hotel to check out our room.





We were assigned accomodations which bordered the courtyard and gave us this view from our window:



The courtyard was very nice, and well equipped for families. There was a large pool:




The hot tubs (there were two) were at the far end of the pool. There was a large games and play area:



And a sunken garden to relax in.



As you can see, these photos are mostly those which I took the following morning, as the light was subdued on our evening arrival meaning those pictures didn’t turn out quite as crisp. Here's one of the courtyard by night:



Jake anxiously tore into his Christmas box which contained his much-anticipated order from Champs Sports. What can I say……he loves his shoes. He’s the girl I’ll never have!!





Unfortunately for us, we had Foulmouthed Reggae and Rap Man and his loud, obnoxious family next door to us. During the course of the night, we had to call not once, not twice, but THREE times to ask the front desk to please, please, PLEASE send someone to shut him (and his music) up. Honestly, it was horrible (and the language….OMG). Not much sleep that night, unfortunately . Let’s just say the front desk staff did not ask how our stay was when we checked out. Sigh.

The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast in bed (I married a wonderful man……….he made an early morning run in the cold and the snow to grab the boy his favourite breakfast, and his dear wife her precious coffee), a period of the World Junior game, then we were on the road home.

Arriving shortly after noon, we had lots of time to unload the luggage, wash the laundry, take down the Christmas tree, and make peace with the cat (okay, that took longer than an afternoon, but I am pleased to confirm she has FINALLY forgiven us).

And that, my friends, is the end.

Thanks for sharing in our memories .
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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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899



Last edited by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina; 01-18-2013 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:11 PM   #159
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Another great trip report! I have always enjoyed reading about your trips and your tips on Sea World.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:39 AM   #160
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Thanks for all the details Gina-excellent TR!
We did the AP for the waterparks a few years ago. We had the good fortune of being invited to my cousin's May wedding in 2010 at the Boardwalk so instead of hitting the regular parks, we spent the whole time at BB and TL. It worked out amazing cause the temps were soooo hot and then the next year, just before they expired we flew down to do it all again. I honestly think these passes gave us such a tremedous value and it does make for a VERY relaxing vacation. We also did Cocoa beach for the first time that trip too! The drive is so easy and the beach is terrific, we even saw a beach wedding the day we went, you will love it!
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:24 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwnomad View Post
Another great trip report! I have always enjoyed reading about your trips and your tips on Sea World.
Thank you!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohamom View Post
Thanks for all the details Gina-excellent TR!
We did the AP for the waterparks a few years ago. We had the good fortune of being invited to my cousin's May wedding in 2010 at the Boardwalk so instead of hitting the regular parks, we spent the whole time at BB and TL. It worked out amazing cause the temps were soooo hot and then the next year, just before they expired we flew down to do it all again. I honestly think these passes gave us such a tremedous value and it does make for a VERY relaxing vacation. We also did Cocoa beach for the first time that trip too! The drive is so easy and the beach is terrific, we even saw a beach wedding the day we went, you will love it!
Now that's the kind of encouragement that helps get me excited!!! (lol, not that I need any help, but you know what I mean )

My guys are hot blooded. They don't tend to endure the high temperatures as comfortably as I do. The water activities are a MUCH better choice for us than the theme parks on an August trip (though Steve is already pondering adding a one day park ticket for each of us to the plans....he would like to visit Animal Kingdom, apparently). Just like the fact that they don't take to crowds very well (which necessitated some non-traditional and less-popular activites planned for our Christmas trip), some non-typical plans for our summer getaway are just as important to keep everyone smiling

Now, why couldn't any of MY cousins have decided to get married at Disney?!?!
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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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 01-19-2013, 09:59 AM   #162
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Sad to read the end of the report but very happy to know there will be another one coming!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:21 PM   #163
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Thanks for a great trip report, Gina! I really enjoyed reading it. Can't wait until my boys are old enough to ask to hit the malls on a vacation - I find it so sad to come back across the border with a huge unused exemption limit!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #164
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Loved reading this trip report! Very timely installments as well! Thank you for the new ideas for those of us who love going to Orlando.

We have visited Cocoa Beach a few times. We really liked an area called Lori Wilson Beach. There is a free parking lot, bathrooms where you can change, an outside shower area where you can rinse off the sand and it was never really crowded when we were there. You can do a search here for the directions, but it was very easy to find for us and we went on two separate occasions.

Have fun!!
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Most recent: Last minute trip Coronado Springs 8/27-8/31 with DSIL/DBIL 15th anniversary
Recent: HOJO'S DL 5/28-6/4
4/03 ASMO and Caribbean Beach Resort
4/05 HOJO's DL
4/07 Nick Hotel and WH
4-5/09 Nick Hotel and WH
6/10 WH
5-6/11 HOJO'S DL
6/12 Split stay: WH/AKV/Poly
5/29-6/12/13 WH 2 WEEKS!!


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Old 01-19-2013, 02:31 PM   #165
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Sad to read the end of the report but very happy to know there will be another one coming!
Thank you!! I must admit, having another trip planned is good for the soul. I am a compuslive planner, so having a new focus is therapeutic (yup, a little OCD going on ... I will admit it!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sportel View Post
Thanks for a great trip report, Gina! I really enjoyed reading it. Can't wait until my boys are old enough to ask to hit the malls on a vacation - I find it so sad to come back across the border with a huge unused exemption limit!
lol, it will come, trust me!!! Jake hated shopping until he became a teenager. Now there's no place he's happier than in the Nike Store .

Thanks for reading along, all the way to the end!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaBaby View Post
Loved reading this trip report! Very timely installments as well! Thank you for the new ideas for those of us who love going to Orlando.

We have visited Cocoa Beach a few times. We really liked an area called Lori Wilson Beach. There is a free parking lot, bathrooms where you can change, an outside shower area where you can rinse off the sand and it was never really crowded when we were there. You can do a search here for the directions, but it was very easy to find for us and we went on two separate occasions.

Have fun!!
I love the new and unexplored. Thinking of doing a tour of an orange grove at Showcase of Citrus in August as well, if the weather co-operates and the guys are up to it. Looks like something "different" and there's some sort of tour on a monster truck, so I think it will appeal to the boys as well.

Lori Wilson Beach sounds fabulous....just exactly what we are looking for. Off to research that right now! Wondering how far it is from Ron Jon's Surf Shop, another place on our Cocoa Beach to-do list.

Thanks again for staying with my report from start to finish. It was so encouraging to read your kind comments all along the way!
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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! Visit my trip report in progress: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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