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The AutoTrain, Disney World, and MORE report! Picture-heavy. **Final Update 1/5**

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by ddstratton, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! We really enjoyed Gatorland. It was worth the visit.

    Thank you! The hotel was really enjoyable. Ocean report coming up!!
     
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  3. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Sorry it's been a little while. Life got a bit busy.

    When we last left off, we were staying at a very comfy Comfort Suites.

    We were up and around and headed for breakfast by 8:30 am.
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    We got the truck loaded up again, and were heading for the beach! Mom is the only one of us who has ever been to see the ocean before. Well, I guess I was but I don’t remember it. I was four months old at the time!

    We were going to St. Augustine Beach State Park. We got a little bit turned around, because my map directions put me on a road that was not really park access. There was a locked gate across the road. We had to backtrack a bit to find the actual park entrance. No worries though. Only took a couple of minutes longer.

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    Once we found the park, we paid our admission -- $8.00 per car – and found a spot to park. Parking was fairly close to the beach access.

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    DD put on her swimsuit. The rest of us didn’t plan on going in the water, so we didn’t change. Then we headed to the beach.

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    I changed my mind. I wanted to go into the water. So I went back and changed and met them on the beach.

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    DD and I wandered out into the water.

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    Mom and DH waded into the surf a little, but mainly stayed on the beach.

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    DD got her first face-full of ocean water. I don’t think she cared for the salty taste. . .
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    DD absolutely fell in love with the ocean.
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    The beach really wasn’t very crowded.
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    One little side note. I have very fair skin. I sunburn if I look outside on a sunny day. I had worn sunscreen the entire time we had been at Disney World. I forgot it today. Of all days. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. We were only at the beach for about an hour. No problem, right? WRONG!! I was pretty crispy by that evening. I had bought some sunburn gel earlier in the week, when I had sunburned my head and it really came in handy this night.

    DD really didn’t want to leave. None of us did, but she REALLY didn’t. We did go get changed into dry clothes and bought a couple of drinks from the snack stand. Our total cost for drinks here was $8.99.

    We got loaded back up in the truck and headed North. We were going to be driving as far as Florence, SC.

    We'll leave off here for now...
     
  4. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    What a fun update! I haven't been to the ocean in a while and your pictures made me miss it. Too bad you only had an hour or so to play in the water but I'm sure you'll plan another trip sometime soon since your daughter loved it so much.
     
  5. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! We had a lot of fun. We didn't have a lot of time to stay and play, but we enjoyed the time we had. We are actually tentatively planning a beach vacation for DD's 13th b-day.
     
  6. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    When we last left off, we had just left St. Augustine Beach State Park. We were heading towards home.

    Driving through Jacksonville, FL.
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    We stopped for lunch at an Arby’s right around 1:30 pm.
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    DD got the roast beef sandwich with curly fries and a Pepsi; Mom and DH each had the Beef’n’Cheddar with curly fries and a Pepsi; and I had the French Dip sandwich with homestyle fries and a Pepsi. Our total cost here was $26.85. Food was standard Arby’s food, but was extra tasty because we were hungry.

    DD had perked up a little by this time. She was still missing the beach/ocean. She has put in a formal request that we take a vacation to the ocean. I am looking into it now. I’ve warned her that it may not be until 2012, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to know that we’d be going back and that she would have more time to play in the ocean. I like that idea, myself. We grabbed a Jr Roast Beef to go, as DD decided she was extra hungry – grand total of $1.07.

    We loaded into the truck again and hit the road.

    My notes are a little - - - absent - - - here. I know we didn’t do anything memorable, but we must have hit a rest area or two. . .

    It was shortly before 7:00 pm when we found our hotel.
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    At this hotel, we did get my request of a first floor room. It was just down the hall from the pool area.

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    You can see a small brown building next to the hotel here.
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    This is were we went for supper. Zaxby’s Chicken.

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    DH had the chicken sandwich with fries.
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    I had chicken tenders with fries and garlic bread.
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    DD had the kids chicken tenders with fries.
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    Mom had the Zensation salad.
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    The food was really pretty good. Our total here was $28.31

    After eating, we got 2 chocolate shakes, an order of fried pickles and an order of fried cheese bites to go (all fat free and low calorie, I tell ya). Total was $12.72.

    We went back to the hotel and hit the pool for a little while. The pool area was small, but not busy. There were only a couple other people there.

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    Even though we were on our way home, we were still having fun and just enjoying the trip.

    It was a little after 9:00 pm when we left the pool area. We were tired and knew we had another long day ahead.

    Up next – Myrtle Beach!
     
  7. mermaid764

    mermaid764 DIS Veteran

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    How awesome that you guys are looking into a vacation to the ocean...that wound be a fab vacation.

    The hotel looks really nice

    Looking forward to hearing about myrtle beach:goodvibes
     
  8. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    Glad to hear that you've decided to look into a beach vacation. I am sure that your daughter is happy.

    Yummy pictures of Zaxby's! I love their salads and have to get one every time we go to Tennessee.
     
  9. Rozz

    Rozz DIS Veteran

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    St. Augustine Beach and now Myrtle Beach - can't wait to read about it! Hope you've got some photos to go along with the report! popcorn::
     
  10. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! Myrtle Beach update coming up next.

    Yes, DD is very happy that we're considering a beach vacation. She's even happier that we're thinking of adding a day or two at St Augustine Beach on our next Disney trip, to be discussed in an upcoming Pre-Trip report!

    We had never heard of a Zaxby's before. Don't have them up here near us... We were pleasantly surprised - we loved it!


    Myrtle Beach coming up next! And we do have photos. :thumbsup2
     
  11. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    We were up and at breakfast right around 7:30 am.
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    After loading the truck up again, we headed toward Myrtle Beach. We did make one pit stop at an “Information Center”. We used the restrooms and picked up a few brochures.We got to Myrtle Beach and found the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. We were looking for a place to park, and fell for a tourist trap. We didn’t know it was one until we were leaving. We followed the signs for parking. There as a guy on a stool showing people where to park. It was $10 to park, and that was only for three hours!!! Rip-off. Little did we know, if we had gone down the alleyway just a little bit, there was all-day parking for $6. This lot just happened to be at the beginning of the street/alley, so if you didn’t know better – you pulled in there.

    We walked over to the Ripley’s museum and bought tickets. I got three adult and one child tickets for two attractions. This would let us into the museum and the Aquarium. Cost was $108.53 total. Just as we were getting ready to enter, my camera batteries died. Great. The cashier told us that the gift shop just down the street would have batteries, so we walked down there. $5.44 for four AA batteries. But I needed them, so. . .

    Walking back to Ripley’s.
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    You can see Myrtle Beach, the ocean and the boardwalk from the Ripley’s museum.
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    After touring ANOTHER Ripley’s museum, we walked over to the beach. We didn’t really have time to get into swimsuits, but we were able to wade a bit.

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    DD wasn’t really happy with me. She wanted to swim again.
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    DH wasn't happy with Myrtle Beach. There were some chairs with umbrellas scattered around. No one was sitting in most of them. He sat in one for a few minutes, to wait for us as he wasn't really interested in wading in the water. He was there for just a minute when a guy came along and said that if he wanted to sit there, it'd be twenty bucks. Excuse me??? Between this and the rip-off parking lot, we kinda got a bad taste in our mouths for Myrtle Beach. Especially when compared to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine!

    After spending a little while at the beach, we headed back to our truck. We stopped at the same gift shop where I had bought batteries. I got a beach bag, a christmas ornament, some taffy and a couple other small things. Our total was $33.74.

    We loaded into the truck and made our way to the Ripley’s Aquarium. It was a few minutes inland from the museum. When we got there, three school buses were just unloading. Urgh. So we made the decision to have lunch first! We went over to the Hard Rock Café nearby.

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    We were seated in the section you can see here. I think we were at the table just to the right of center here...

    Hmm. . . I guess I don’t have food pictures here. DD had the kid’s mac & cheese, Mom had a honey chicken salad, DH had the salmon and I had a patty melt. We all had drinks – either iced tea or soda, and DD had a mini key lime pie for dessert. We also got a souvenier photo. Our total was $88.32 including the photo.

    DH has his standard expression, and you can see some of my glorious St Augustine Beach sunburn...
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    After our lunch, we headed back toward the Aquarium.

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    And could you believe it??? My camera batteries were dying again!!! I had JUST bought these this morning!!! I went to the gift shop, as we had just started looking in the Aquarium. I paid $8.71 for another pack of 4 batteries. These were good Kodak batteries, at least.

    Continued in next post -- too many pictures for one post.
     
  12. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    We had fun looking around the aquarium. Thanks to our lunch detour, we were FAR behind the school crowd and didn’t get caught up with them.

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    We exited through the gift shop around 2:30 pm. We bought a book and (I think) a stuffed animal. I’m not sure just what it was, but the total was $25.05.

    Again, my notes are a bit - - absent - - here. I know we stopped at a McDonald’s around 4:00 pm. We got a cheeseburger happy meal for DD and a chocolate shake for DH. This may have just been a bathroom break… Our total here was $7.13.

    We entered North Carolina around 4:30 pm, and made a rest stop at around 6:30 pm.

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    These vending machines were neat. They had EVERYTHING!! I mean stuff like ice cream, yogurt, big dill pickles, TEDDY BEARS! All kinds of neat stuff.
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    We finally arrived at our hotel shortly after 7:00 pm. We stayed at this hotel on our way down in our October 2008 trip. Our total here was $102.35
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    We got unloaded for the night and walked across the street for supper at Shoney’s. We probably should have driven, as we had to cross quite a busy street, but we were sick of being in the car!
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    DH had the liver and onions (yuck!); Mom had the BLT deluxe; DD and I had the seafood/salad bar. With drinks, our total came to $55.31. Sorry – no food pictures here. We were just too tired.

    DD talked DH into playing the crane game at the restaurant. He won.
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    After supper, we hit the pool for a bit. It was a tiny little pool area, but no one else was there. There was a lot of sand on the floor and in the hot tub, too. I think the sand filter was messed up.
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    DD had fun, though.
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    After a little pool time, we just vegged and hit the beds.

    Up next – we get home! Yup, the trip is almost over.
     
  13. WDWisTheBest

    WDWisTheBest <font color=darkcoral>This is better than plan one

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    I normally skip a lot of the Trip Reports, but, in this case, it is a very well written one of loads of descriptive pictures. Congratulations to you.
     
  14. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thank you very much! I've enjoyed reliving the trip though the Trip Report.
     
  15. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    Tourist traps suck! $10 for just a few hours?

    I felt your pain when you wrote that your camera batteries died not once but twice. My older camera used AA batteries like crazy. I was constantly changing them out.

    Ripley's, Hard Rock Cafe and the Aquarium all look like a lot of fun.
     
  16. LisaKeys

    LisaKeys Mouseketeer

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    Amazing how quickly tourist traps can drain your pocketbook! :sad2:

    The aquarium looked like it was a nice experience. I also enjoyed the ocean pictures at Myrtle Beach. $20.00 to sit down - sheesh! :eek:

    It's been quite an adventure following you from the beginning when you embarked upon the train. Obviously, you all enjoyed a fun-filled vacation and were able to accomplish several different venues.

    Looking forward to reading the ending TR's. Soon, it will be us posting our TR when we return in a few weeks. :surfweb:
     
  17. mermaid764

    mermaid764 DIS Veteran

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    Ugh 10 dollars for a couple of hours....what a rip off! Tourist traps suck

    I can so relate to the whole battery scenario....on our last trip we had borrowed my dad's fancy camera and he did not warn us how fast it ate through batteries and I ended up having to buy the expensive ones on disney property..definitely learned my lesson about bringing lots of extra batteries.

    I'm sad to see your trip coming to an end, I've enjoyed following along with your report

    Can't wait to hear the rest:goodvibes
     
  18. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Yup. Tourist Traps suck. Ah, well. Live and learn. My camera is usually really good on batteries. I only used ONE set of batteries throughout the entire trip, until that second-to-last day. I usually use Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA's. They are about $10 for a pack of four, but they LAST in my camera.

    Well, at least we learned to avoid a tourist trap or two. The aquarium was really enjoyable. Can't wait to read your TR -- have a great time!!

    I actually did have an extra set of batteries, but they were buried in the luggage in the back of the truck. It was much easier to just buy another set. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a set of my preferred batteries where we were. Bummer.

    This report is coming to an end, but I'll be starting a Pre-Trip report soon. We're heading back in October!
     
  19. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    We were up and around fairly early, as we had a long drive ahead of us. Nothing exciting happening today, other than getting HOME! We did have some breakfast at the hotel first.
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    We left the hotel at about 8:30 am. We stopped for some gas about a half-hour later. $44.00 later, we were on our way again.

    We stopped at a rest area around mile 108 on I95. Bought iced tea for DH and DD at $1.75 each, and a Dr Pepper for me at $1.75. We also got DD a package of animal crackers for $1.25.

    Right around noon, we stopped at a McDonald’s in Urbana, MD. DH got the Big Mac meal, DD got the Cheeseburger Happy meal, Mom just had a McDouble. I honestly have no idea what I had, and I can't find the receipt now. Hmmmm... My notes do say that our total was $14.49.

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    We left McD's at about 12:30. We got DH a large chocolate shake to go, as well as buying 4 McDoubles and a 10 piece Chicken Nuggets to go, in case anyone got hungry on the rest of the ride. Total this time was $11.11.

    We stopped at another rest area at 1:53pm. Left at 2:12pm. DD got a candy bar from the vending machine.
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    At about 2:30, we stopped for gas at an Express Way in Carlisle, PA. $43.50.

    We were happy to see this sign. Corning is only about 20 miles or so from home!!!
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    However, when looking through these pictures after we got home - I got freaked out!! It looks like there is a guy standing near that sign!!!! It turns out that is it actually an advertising sign. It just looks like a guy.

    We finally pulled in to our driveway at about 6:30 pm. We unloaded just what we had to. We were just happy to get out of the truck and to be home! Our cats and dogs were very happy to see us again, too.

    To sum up the trip -- we had a blast. There were times that the heat just got to us and seemed like too much. When that happened, we went back to the resort and hit the pool. One down side of this trip -- a decided lack of characters at Disney! We had one character meal, and that was the only time we really saw characters. We didn't see as many out and about in the parks. That could be because of the heat, I'm sure. We enjoyed our side trips on the way home, as usual. Now -- we're just looking forward to our next trip!!! I'll be starting a PTR for that one very soon.

    Thank you to everyone for hitching a ride on this Trip Report. I had a lot of fun re-living the trip.
     
  20. eeyoresnr

    eeyoresnr DIS Veteran

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    what a wonderful report...I have enjoyed reading it....
    we have been back from our Dec trip for 2 weeks now and I have been sick the whole time....I finally just finished uploading our pics today and am gonna try a TR in the next day or so...It will be my first ( i have done 2 PTR but this will be my first TR)
     
  21. lledman

    lledman DIS Veteran

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    I've been lurking/following along with your trip report. Sorry to see it end but I really enjoyed reading along.
     

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