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Old 07-04-2013, 09:29 PM   #16
Chelley00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfassett View Post
Wow! What a winter! And what a beginning to your trip. I trust it gets better for you! I am here for the journey! Thanks for doing this.
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Originally Posted by ProudMommyof2 View Post
YIKES! That is ann intense way to start the trip!

I promise it gets 110% better. But I was so ready to turn around and just come back home!



June 21
Welcome Home

We buzzed the gate, told the disembodied voice over the speaker our name and she said

"Welcome Home"

I mean, really, there are no sweeter words, especially after a 13 turned almost 18 hour car trip.

We parked and walked up the steps to the Live Oak Lodge. The check in lady was very nice and I was sad we didn't see her again the rest of our trip. She said she knew we had a long trip and she would get us checked in as easily as possible. I had already done online check in so everything was ready to go, but she needed to show us where our villa was and where to park, told us some key "need to know" facts, gave the kids coloring books, crayons and tic tac toe boards, gave us all First Visit buttons and sent us on our way.

So, even though it was after midnight, we went ahead and unloaded the car so we didn't have to do it later and found our villa. I have tons of pictures but they are all from later in the trip because it was so dark and we were so exhausted from traveling all day. However, I did stop to snap this one because it was such a lovely greeting after a cruddy little day



Once we got in the room, I caught my second wind and knew there was no sleeping. It seems everyone else was the same way, so at 1am, we were unpacking suitcases and settling in for the week. DS was so excited because it's the latest he has ever stayed up. Best vacation ever and it's only day 1!

After I got the kids tucked in, I actually hit the jet tub to try and unwind. I like to drive, DH hates it so I had driven the entire trip and I needed the break. So it was after 2am before I finally climbed into bed.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:48 PM   #17
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Home Sweet Home Away From Home
Outside

We were in room 2712,


which is the "First Floor" villa in the building right next to the Mercantile.


The actual first floor is open area in case of flooding. You have to go up a flight of steps to actually get to the "first floor" villas.


From our door


we could see the pool straight ahead


the mercantile, community hall and Tide Me Over to the left


and our bike racks and bikes straight down



The location was both good and bad. Being so close to everything was great, but the pool music is pretty loud and obnoxious when you are on the balcony. We probably would have been a little happier in the next building over to try and get away from the music all day long.

However, the view was amazing

Low tide


High Tide


Balcony


From the far right side


and far left ( I spent a few hours in the hammock in the far right of the picture)
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:16 PM   #18
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Home Sweet Home Away From Home
Let's Go Inside

We had a 2 bedroom villa. My first thought was that it is SO much bigger than I thought. Even my pictures make it look small. I read somewhere that it's around 1,255 square feet. I was also very pleased with the amount of storage. We are overpackers (well, I'm an overpacker, and I'm okay with it) and we had plenty of room for all of stuff to stay organized.

These pictures are from later in our vacation so you can see we are settled in. I usually try and take pictures before we dump our stuff in, but that was not happening at 1am!

Kitchen from the entry hallway looking left


Living area from the hall looking right. We didn't use the sleeper sofa, but I can tell you that the reviews are true......the sofa does slant forward and you tend to slide off, especially if you are trying to get away from snoring husband and trying to sleep on it....


Kitchen from the end of the couch. The TV is in the center island.


Dining area from the end of the couch


Door and entry hall from the living area


Shadow's paw print in the entryway tile



Master bedroom with door leading to balcony. There are nightstands on both sides of the bed with lamps, one has a clock with Ipod dock and the telephone.



From master bedroom. Jet tub, master closet. There was a pack n play in this closet and linens for the sleeper sofa. I wasn't thrilled that there was not a door leading from the bedroom into here, especially with the bathtub in here. The bed was super comfy.


Tub. The green shutters open to the master bedroom.


Right next to the closet is a large sink area


This is looking from the tub area door back into the master bedroom. 3 drawers under the TV stand, shelves around the TV and the bench also has a drawer for storage


From the bathtub area looking into the bathroom. There is a toilet, sink and walk in shower. There is also another door near the shower that leads into the hallway


Looking in from the hallway. Shower is on the left.


Walking out of the master bedroom to the end of the hallway. If you look left you see the hall that leads to the second bedroom. To the right, the kitchen/living room area.


Coming in the entryway and going left you end up in the second bedroom. In that hallway before the bedroom door is a large bench with shelves and pegs on the right (so handy for beach stuff and bike helmets!)


carved on the bench


and the washer/dryer area on the left.


Second bedroom


TV and table from the bed closest to the door


closet from the bed closest to the door


Beyond the closet is a little alcove area with pegs. We kept the suitcases and the kids dirty clothes hamper in the alcove
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:28 PM   #19
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Great pics! We rented points for a 1 bedroom so the kids will be on the sleep sofa and a air mattress. It looks like they will be just fine
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:42 AM   #20
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Great pics! We rented points for a 1 bedroom so the kids will be on the sleep sofa and a air mattress. It looks like they will be just fine
Hopefully I can finish my trip report before you leave!



June 22
What to do, what to do?

Despite the late arrival, my body apparently wasn't on vacation time yet and I was up at 7am no matter how much I tried to go back to sleep. Everyone else was still snoring away so I slipped outside to the balcony to check out the view we couldn't see when we arrived



I was craving coffee but I knew if I started the coffee maker, it would wake up DH, so I decided to go ahead and swing by Starbucks and then head to Publix to get groceries that way I wouldn't have to drag everyone with me. By the time I got back, everyone was up and dressed and helped me load everything into a luggage cart and take it to the villa.

We unpacked groceries and then we headed to Tide Me Over for breakfast. Yes, I had just bought groceries but we are at a Disney resort and there is only one thing you can eat for breakfast on your first day at a Disney resort!



Here's the menu


and just for reference, this is the bounty platter


We took the calendar of activities with us and a pen and let the kids go through it to put their initials beside the activities that they wanted to try and get to, with the knowledge we wouldn't be able to do it all. It kept them busy while we waited for breakfast. I know we have it somewhere around here and I hope to scan it in. There were so many different activities every day, both free and some at a cost. You could spend the entire trip at the resort and never go to the beach and stay busy!

Every day near the mercantile (and also at the Beach House Pool) they list the activities for the day. They also list low and high tide times. I have to say we all found the tide changes fascinating. We Midwest people don't deal with tides! I tried to get a picture each day but I think I'm missing one


We decided to eat at the little bar area of Tide Me Over




We tried to enjoy the view




but we spent more time trying to defend our food from these guys


These birds are insane! As long as you kept your arm near your plate they just "yelled" at you, but turn around and they steal stuff right off your plate. We decided from now on to eat under covered patio!

With breakfast done, we decided to walk to Live Oak Lodge. When we checked in the kids were given tic tac toe boards with Disney characters on them and Disney stickers. Each day in the Lodge, they flash 2 characters on the TV of announcements and when you get a tic tac toe you get a trading pin. My kids love pins and were so far beyond excited they both decided this was their must do activity each day! We also wanted to check to see if our bikes had been delivered. It was cheaper to get them from Bike Doctor than it was from Disney.

It's a lovely walk, and really not long at all. Every CM we ran across greeted us and many welcomed us to the resort, realizing they hadn't seen us before.




DS couldn't wait to meet Shadow


Bikes weren't there yet, characters were found and covered on their papers, we walked back to change and start our day.


The kids were itching to try out the pool slide which made me laugh. They are competitive swimmers and can swim in a pool any time, yet they chose the pool over the beach!
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:53 PM   #21
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Great tip about the bikes - i will have to look into that rental place.

FYI- i followed your last trip report as we stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek in April and did Universal and Disney (as well as Kennedy Space Center). You had tons of great tips in that report that we used, including getting a room at Royal Pacific for Express Pass. Thanks to your experience, we packed a day bag and used the room for a mid day break and to use the pool. Worked great!
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #22
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Thanks for sharing your TR! We are headed to HHI in just over a week and I cannot wait!
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:07 PM   #23
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Quote:
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FYI- i followed your last trip report as we stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek in April and did Universal and Disney (as well as Kennedy Space Center). You had tons of great tips in that report that we used, including getting a room at Royal Pacific for Express Pass. Thanks to your experience, we packed a day bag and used the room for a mid day break and to use the pool. Worked great!
I'm so glad. Sometimes I feel like I do trip reports for nothing and no one reads them (or at least no one comments) so it's nice to know something helped!



June 22
Taking a Dip

Being steps from the pool stinks because of noise but is awesome in convenience. Plus, we didn't feel the need to schlep a bag of bottled water or anything. If we wanted it, it was a 1 minute walk back to the villa to get it.

It was around 11am when we got to the pool and we had plenty of chairs to chose from. The covered tables were all taken though. The pool is a decent size and the kids loved the pool slide. I was blackmailed into trying it later in the week and it's a lot faster than you think it is!





The kids swam for over an hour before deciding they needed lunch. We went back to the villa for sandwiches on the balcony and then I ran next door to the Mercantile to pick up desserts. It's the first day of vacation so don't you have to eat something Mickey shaped??



The kids wanted to go back to the pool but they quickly got vetoed. We live in the Midwest. We came to see ocean. We are going to the beach!
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:35 AM   #24
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June 22
But, you're too far away from the ocean!

When doing my research I had read many reviews of people who complained that the beach was too far away. I honestly was afraid this would bother me too. I mean, we are from the Midwest. There is no way we can take a day trip or even a weekend trip to the beach, so the ocean was a major part of why we were in Hilton Head.

However, I found that I really liked the beach being so far away. It made the resort quieter and more peaceful and secure. The ocean became a destination outside of the resort and something else to do, not just the reason we were there. After we left HHI, we went to Topsail Island, North Carolina for 3 days to spend time with our "other son". The only thing to do outside our condo was the beach. Now, for 3 days it was ok, but I think the kids would have gone stir crazy if that was the only thing we could have offered them....especially since it rained 2 of the 3 days!

Plus, a couple of us are pretty pale and burn easily so spending an entire day at the beach isn't quite possible. It was great to just pack a bag, catch a shuttle, head to the beach for a few hours, then shuttle back to do other things.



We decided to drive to the beach since we had left our beach chairs and umbrella in the car when we arrived. It was around 3 and we had no problems finding a parking space. However, this is the only time we ever saw an empty space. The parking lot is way too small for the resort, and if you can't park there, there is no other place to go. You have to drive back and take the shuttle. Trust me. It happened to us on day 2.

So, back to our first beach trip. We parked the car and headed up to the Beach House. (this picture is actually of us leaving on another day, which is why DS is calling for the shuttle)


Inside the Beach House are chairs and tables where you can sit in the air conditioning




Outside there is an area with foosball and table tennis and a little splash pad


The pool


and arcade


and then the walkway to the beach. This is actually walking back towards the Beach House from the beach. Just before the screen door there are showers


At the end of the walkway


The view from the end of the walkway


We got our chairs set up, decided not to set up the umbrella because it was cloudy and we weren't planning on staying long and then headed towards the water.

Well, three of us did...................
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:17 AM   #25
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Funny, part of the reason I was resistant to this trip a little is that we live in the Ocean State. We go to the beach all the time in the summer. But, my husband grew up outside Philly and summers on the Jersey Shore are great memories for him. I am hopeful HHI will be a good compromise for us. A beach vacation for him but "other stuff to do" for me and the kids.
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:19 PM   #26
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Wow, Hilton Head is such a beautiful island! As much as I love going to Disney, I think I could really go for a nice, relaxing beach vacation! I'm glad things got better after you made it to the resort! I was reading about your drive while we were in the car on the way to Florida and I was nervous about running into something like that! I can never sleep in on vacation either. I always wake up far too early out of excitement or worrying that I've overslept and missed rope drop! Your pictures are great! I really appreciate all of the details you've included about the resort. Almost makes me feel like I'm there! Looking forward to reading more!
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #27
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I am hopeful HHI will be a good compromise for us. A beach vacation for him but "other stuff to do" for me and the kids.
I think you will be really happy. We loved that the resort is so contained and that the beach was a day trip type thing.

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As much as I love going to Disney, I think I could really go for a nice, relaxing beach vacation!
This was perfect, because there were still enough Disney touches around so we had a little "magic" without the parks.



June 22
I am NOT going in there!
And the best meal of the week

As we were leaving the resort for the beach, one of the lifeguards asked us about our plans and DS said we were going to the beach. Somehow they started talking about fish, which led to other ocean animals, like sharks and jellyfish and horseshoe crabs and sand dollars.......

which led to DS deciding he was NOT swimming in the ocean.



Now, DS is the one that we have to talk into everything, but once he does it we can't get him to stop. Apparently the ocean was one of those things. I almost had to drag him out in the water kicking and screaming, but once he got in, we had to drag him out kicking and screaming



He and his sister were most happy just jumping waves for hours


We finally convinced them we needed to find some food. The counter service and the Beach House both close at 5 and it was way past that, so we had to leave. Once we drug them out of the water, dried off and packed up it was getting pretty late. We drove back to the resort, showered and then headed out for dinner at what would turn out to be our favorite meal of the week.

We decided to go to SkullCreek Boathouse because of the reviews I had read and that they have a gluten free menu. When we got there it was an hour wait, which really isn't too bad on a Saturday in June.



The area outside was super kid friendly during the wait. They had a picnic table with crafts you could buy and have your kids make (wooden masks, tshirts etc) There were hula hoops, sidewalk chalk and a sand table as well. For the adults, there was an outside bar. Plus you can walk down and see the boats in the marina area







The food was the best we had on vacation, lots of fresh seafood, the prices were very reasonable and the desserts were great. We actually considered going back again later in the week we enjoyed it so much.

The kids both passed out on the way home but woke up when we pulled in the resort. We parked the car up front, picked up the bikes that had been delivered earlier in the day and rode our bikes back to the villa. DH walked back to pick up the car and park it closer to the villa while I got the kids ready for bed.

And so ended our first full day at HHI.

Up tomorrow: Bikes, Beach and few Monsters
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:54 PM   #28
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I finally have some time to catch up. I've been working on a musical since after work since we got home so my life has been crazy. Now that the production is over, I've got a little time to update (and hopefully finish my scrapbook)

June 23
Biking It

We slept in a little and made a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon. We all leave at odd times each morning so we rarely have big breakfasts together. We like to do it on vacation because it gives us time to plan our day.

One of our kids favorite things turned out to be the tic tac toe game. Every day they flash 2 characters on the screen in the Live Oak Lodge. They give the kids a paper with 9 characters on it and Mickey stickers to cover them. Once you get a tic tac toe you can take it back to the Live Oak Lodge and get a trading pin. My kids are pin hogs, so of course we had to play. It became a tradition of getting up every morning, riding our bikes to the Live Oak Lodge for the character, before we did anything else.

Today was the first day we had our bikes, so we rode instead of walked like we had before. We paid $100 for the week for 4 bikes with 2 locks and 3 baskets through Bike Doctor. The bikes were all in great shape and well taken care of and the seats were extra comfy. They deliver and pick up.





After we had gotten the characters, we took a quick ride to Shelter Cove to look around. King Neptune is a sun dial









It was getting hot, so we decided it was time to head to the beach.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #29
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June 23
We might get to the beach

Today is the day we made a mistake. We loaded up our car and drove to the beach. At noon.

First, it's really easy to miss the turn off to the Beach House. The lady who let us in didn't tell us where to turn and we went right past it. We turned around at the end of the lane and came back and found it finally.

Then, there were no places to park. I mean at all. It's a small lot and if there aren't parking spaces in it, there is no other place to go. We ended up driving back to the resort and parking by Live Oak Lodge then catching the shuttle. Thankfully we didn't have to wait long for the shuttle at all, and it was only a mile drive back but it was making the kids extra impatient because they just wanted to get in the water already!

Goofy DS finally on the shuttle


We got our spot set up


sunscreened the kids and turned them loose






Now, just an FYI. Pale Midwestern people still burn even reapplying 100 SPF every 30+ minutes. Ugh.

DD was lucky enough to find a sand dollar


The kids both checked it out before returning it back to the ocean


A view up the beach


A little digging for clams




We decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at Signals in the Beach House. Mistake. I called before we left and was assured that there would be gluten free bagels and gluten free bread available. Apparently those things aren't available at Signals, only at Tide Me Over. The lady taking my order thought gluten free was a type of salad? This was our most disappointing part of our trip. Disney is always so amazing with food allergies and HHI is totally not equipped at all.

DS was happy though that his food was served in a sand pail


View from outside Signals


A quick picture of the days happenings


After lunch/dinner everyone was tired and sunburned, so we decided to pack it up and head back. We left the kids in the Beach House pool while we walked back to pack up the chairs and umbrella.



On the shuttle, the kids were asked to wave at people with the Mickey hands




After coming back to the villa, everyone showered and we decided to impose a "mandatory naptime" before dinner.
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:05 PM   #30
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Great update. No sand dollars up north here, so it wil be fun to look for them. Did you come across any jellyfish?
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