Another Great Trip To Report YAY!!!! June-July 2018

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by bobbie68, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi everyone:yay: I am finally getting around to starting my report:thumbsup2 I am going to try and use first names now it is much easier. DH- Brian DD-Olivia DD's BF is Charlie and me -Roberta

    I had mentioned in my pre trip report we were :car:down this year, a first for us. We left on the 24th and drove to Virginia and stayed for 2 nights. While we were there we visited Kings Dominion one day. You can see in the pictures Olivia played along for me and matched :littleangel:

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    I won't talk much about it but it was a nice visit. The park is really kept up and has a nice variety of rides. We love coasters and there are plenty there. We woke up and left for Florida on the 26th. It took us over 15 hours that day with stops and traffic. I didn't realize how much longer I made the second day. Anyway we got in Tuesday night just to catch a few hours before the college tour on Wednesday morning. The college tour went great! Olivia loved University of Central Florida and now has her sights set on to get in. After the tour we were heading to Cabana Bay for our one night. We love staying here it is so much fun and great for visiting Volcano Bay!

    Day 1 at Universal June 27th :goodvibes.... When we got to Cabana Bay about 1:30 there wasn't a long line to check in. I was happy checking in early knowing I would probably get a better room than last year. The associate checked me in and I actually had a choice of room floors to pick from. We opted for the room closer to the VB entrance. We did do a family suite again, it really is a nice size for a family of 4. Our room was ready we and we brought our luggage in. The room was cleaned very well. I could actually smell the chemicals. There was nothing different from when we stayed last year so we were happy. We decided to eat lunch at the Bay Line Diner before VB. I didn't know what the crowds would be like there for food about 4:00. Also Cabana Bay gave me a gift certificate for a meal and drink for our celebration. It was very kind and not expected. Brian and I had the steak tips with chimichurri sauce, black beans and grilled vegetables. It was so good we enjoyed it. Olivia got mac and cheese and fries, and Charlie got a salad. After a great meal it was time to suit up and head to VB.:cool1:

    It was a beautiful hot day with no rain in the forecast. It had to be in the high 90's but that was good. Before we had left I purchased the summer photo package special. I knew VB had selfie spots but I didn't know that they had started some ride photos so that was a nice surprise.

    We walked over to the CBBR entrance went right through security and into the park. I couldn't believe how low the crowds were. I know it was on a Wednesday at 4:00 but it was lower than I thought. We found seats under the new shelters they built for public use. I went up and activated my photo pass and we were off. We tapped into the Aqua coaster and it had about a 60 minute wait so we went over to Puihi family raft ride. It was a ride now so went right up and down. We then made our way to Honu and Moana. This is our favorite family raft ride.
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    Every time we went on this ride I was backwards :confused3:rolleyes: It was a lot of fun and was nice to have the pictures even if it is the back of my head:P

    Our wait time for the aqua coaster was just about up so we headed there. We all love this coaster it is one of the best I have been on. It is so smooth and fast for a water coaster. I usually hurt my back side on these but not this one. The one thing that drives me crazy about VB is the inconsistency with the scales. The four of us will go up and sometimes we are split up and sometimes not. It happened to us both days. I am thinking it is after a meal also. It's all that good food we eat here:D
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    I don't think there is ride photo I like of myself. I have never made worse faces in my life. However, the family gets a chuckle of them. I am glad I can amuse them a bit.:P

    We left the park about 8:00 to head back to CBBR and sit in the hot tub a bit. We had a great time and would be back in the morning for EE. When we got to CBBR the pool area with the lazy river was crowded. We really love this side of the resort and stay on it. We did manage to get a spot in the hot tub and relax. Olivia isn't a fan of the hot water so she read a bit. Brian and Charlie decided to play frisbee in the pool. The life guards allowed it so they did. After about an hour Olivia and I headed upstairs to shower. The boys came up about a half hour later and Brian was covering his nose. Well it seems he missed the frisbee and hit him dead square in the nose. He had a nice cut right in the middle. We all know that is one of the worst places to draw attention to something.o_O I had to laugh a little inside:-)
    We showered and went to bed it was going to be an early day. EE started at 7:30 and I wanted to be there ( the teens was another matter to want to go early).
     
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  2. ckmiles

    ckmiles Mouseketeer

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    YAY! So excited to hear about your trip!

    Love the pics from VB- the aqua coaster looks like so much fun! But you said something about a scale?? Uh- I have to weigh in??
     
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  4. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

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    Woot great start to your trip report. Awesome pictures, and a happy looking family.

    Enjoy reading and seeing your pictures.
     
  5. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    LOL! Thanks! Glad you are following along. Yes they have scales on at the top of most of the rides. However, the body slides weight you individually at the bottom. What they do is have your group stand on it and then tell you if you have to split up or not. At least they don't say the combined weight however, we peak sometimes. I have seen a difference based on the time of day.

    Thanks Lynne I love posting trip reports and seeing all the great memories again! Glad you're following along.
     
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  6. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Woot !

    I'm in for the read!
     
  7. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi I am back wit a bit of time. I know if I don't continue now it will take me forever. Thanks for coming back and reading our adventures.:goodvibes

    Day 2- Volcano Bay, PBH, Studios and Islands of Adventure

    I managed to get everyone up on time to get ready. We had decided to have everything packed but leave the stuff in the room and come back about 10:00. Olivia and I like to shower in the room but the boys don't mind the locker area by the bowling alley. Also due to some unfortunate circumstances I had to do a load of laundry before we left. I wasn't planning on it so it was a small wrench in my schedule. So we went over and were in line by 7:40 and got right in. We picked the same area today as the day before. It was under the new shelter by the shops and the left of the wave pool. We went over to the water coaster did that, then moved onto Puihi and Honu and Moana. The family was a bit sluggish and climbing those stairs can be tiring so we took a quick trip around the fearless river. They have changed it from last year. Now you must wear a life jacket verses having a tube. We all liked it better and enjoyed it so much. After a few laps we just went back and forth between the couple of rides and the wave pool and fearless river. Before I knew it I saw the crowds coming and the wait times increasing. We did our final swim and headed back to CBBR at 10:00. I didn't get to use the selfie stations as much here this time. I managed to get one but the sun was washing us a bit

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    My overall report from Volcano Bay is they have improved things a bit. They have made some slight changes. We noticed they pulled the carpets up over the bridges. Thank goodness, I have never smelled something so bad. The fearless river life vests. The new shelters are nice. It seems they put up fencing behind the cabanas on I-4. We love this water park. It really is pretty and has some great water rides. I don't think we will be back there next year but will the following. If you like water parks I recommend it following tips on these boards.:thumbsup2

    We got back to the room a little after 10:00 and started getting ready. In the meantime I had Olivia start showering and I went to the laundry room. I knew we wouldn't have laundry available over at PBH so I had to do this load. There are laundry rooms on the 3rd and 6th floors in the towers. I went to the 3rd, no luck way to much time on the machines. I was able to get one on the 6th floor relatively quick. I never thought that the laundry would be so busy in the morning. Anyway, I was able to do the laundry while getting ready and check out. We decided to do lunch again at the diner here. We really find the food good and reasonably priced with a good selection. Everyone had the same thing accept Charlie got a vegetable stir fry. Once again great meal and we were ready to move on to PBH.:banana:


    We headed over to PBH about 2:00. When we got there our room wasn't ready. Someone had given my room away so we had to wait a bit. The associate told us where the club lounge was and we decided to take advantage of it. This hotel lobby is so pretty. I loved the greeters and the smell is so nice. We found the lounge and went in. What a beautiful lounge. We have stayed in others but this is the prettiest one to us. Brian had a headache so they gave him an ice pack and he closed his eyes. The teens and I got some drinks and snacks. We watched TV and played games. About 4:00 I got a text our room was ready. I really like this feature. The bell man got our luggage and off we went. My room was right around the corner from the lounge. I faced the villa pool grounds. We were on the same ground level. We had a patio that went outside. We went in and the room was so big. Everyone was smiling with this room. It was very clean, once again I could smell the chemicals. We put our stuff in and checked it out. We had about an hour till the club level evening reception started. We were going to eat there then head over to IOA. I wanted to see the castle light show and there was no rain in the forecast. Here are some pics of the room.

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    We went to the club lounge at 5:00 for the evening reception. I didn't take pictures of the meal that night I did another. I will post those on the next that day. We were so impressed with the food and service in the lounge. The staff was great as was the food. After we ate about 6:00 we headed to the Studios first. We usually wear our house shirts on the last day because I buy them there. This year however, I had bought them ahead of time and decided to start it off. I love that we do the house shirts:hug:
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    We rode Minion Mayhem first then went to Transformers. When we got out my favorite was there so we took a family photo with him. I love character meet and greets:goodvibes:goodvibes

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    We decided it was getting late and wanted to get over to Hogsmeade. We took the Hogwarts Express over to IOA. When we got off we got a butter beer and pumpkln fizz on tap. We always get ours at the Hogs Head Pub. There is never a line. The pumpkin fizz from the tap blows away the bottle pumpkin juice. We sat in the back of Three Broomsticks had our drinks then went shopping. It was about 8:30 and we decided to get our spot for the show. We ended up on the bridge in the second row with good standing view. A little after 9:00 the show came on and it was amazing. I am so glad we went that night. It turned out to be our only night without rain at that time. It was crowded and leaving through Jurassic was tight. We decided to go back to the resort and call it a night. We would be getting up for early entry. We also knew that the club lounge offered deserts from 8:00 to 9:30. We got back a few minutes after. Olivia and I went in the staff was nice enough to give us a plate of stuff left over. We were appreciative and enjoyed it. i believe it was a banana type cake, chocolate chip cookies and a cannoli. We then showered and off to bed. It was a really nice day to start off there.
     
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  8. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so glad to have you along!
     
  9. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    Those are really nice pictures of the 4 of youse.
     
  10. pattyw

    pattyw DIS Veteran

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    Great start to your trip, Bobbie!! I love your water coaster pictures!! We stayed at PBH when the boys were younger. My younger son loved that window to the bathroom. He loved climbing through it!!

    Glad you have a great time at Volcano Bay!! We loved it!!
     
  11. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you:goodvibes:goodvibes

    Hi thanks for following along. LOL! Charlie was trying to do the same thing with the bathroom window. I love that feature it is so elegant. We love VB and the water coaster is our favorite. We had just as good of a time here as we did last year. Yes PBH is now the "go to" resort for us.
     
  12. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Day 3- park to park

    We did get up early and were at the club lounge for breakfast at 7:00. I like that for the breakfast and dinner offerings they have a staff member outside the door asking for names. It is a good way to help keep wanderers out. I can see how it can be easy to get into this lounge. The club levels I have done usually have their own floor. Once again we were so happy with the offerings. It was the same thing every day for breakfast but it was perfect. The choices were so abundant you could do something different. Unless you are a creature of habit (me) and like to eat the same breakfast daily.
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    After breakfast we were out the door heading to the boat launch. We took a few pictures before and on the boat.

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    As you can see in the pictures Olivia and I matched shirts again. We do this every trip and I love it. I am so glad she likes to do it. Brian had found this awesome Captain America tank top. The idea was to get him and Captain America in a picture. I thought it was cute. We got over to the studios for early entry. Usually in the summer they have both parks early entry but this year due to construction it was only the studios. That was fine since we usually start in DA anyway. I love the excitement of coming up to the entrance. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. We find a line with nobody in it, great we will get right in. I go through:thumbsup2 Brian goes through:thumbsup2 Charlie goes through:thumbsup2 Olivia doesn't go through:eek:. Of all of us I wish it hadn't been her. She gets such anxiety when stuff like this happens. Her fingerprint did not match for some reason. We had used our AP the day before. Anyways they asked for I.D. nope didn't have any. They asked her birthday then they had to go look it up. It had to take 10 minutes. She was having such a panic attack. Finally they came back and gave her the go ahead.:thumbsup2
    By then she was in her own world and it took awhile to calm her down and relax. After a bit she did and once we hit DA she was okay. Our favorite part walking into DA. Olivia calls it her home.:goodvibes
    The magic hit us going through and we went to Gringotts first thing. They weren't using the express line yet so we had to go through stand-by but the line was already long. It took us about 20 minutes and it wasn't even 8:20. We got our picture and it was one of my fave's from the trip.
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    We have the worst luck with seating on this ride:sad2:. We have ridden it probably over 20 times and out of that about 16 of them are in the last row. Once again we get up and are placed in the third row again. It really is a different ride depending where you sit. Anyway we rode it once then walked around DA. We were planning on going back to the resort for the evening reception about 6:00. We decided to eat lunch at Leaky Cauldron. We had a great lunch then it was off for ice cream. We went to Fleur's in DA. Olivia, Charlie and I got butter beer ice cream and Brian got apple pie and a caramel something. Anyway it was delicious. We decided to stay in the studios a bit. It was time for F & F. I have been reading lots of reviews about this ride and went in with low expectations. I am glad that I did. I really didn't like the party bus story line. The best part of the ride was when the chase starts. The ending was to abrupt. The rest of the family thought it was okay. We rode the usual Transformers, Mummy and Minions.

    We took the train over to IOA we were going to do Hogsmeade, Kong and Spider man. It was about 1:30 when we got there and the skies started looking dark. We noticed the outside stands were closing up. Bad sign!:scared: I looked at my weather and sure enough strong storms were coming in. We headed to Kong but even the express line was long. We made our way to Spider man and just got in the express line and we heard all out door rides closed. At this point there was only about a 10 minute wait. We knew the line would be growing. We enjoyed spider man but when we got off we couldn't even move in the shop. The storm had started and everyone flocked in. We waited a bit and watched the weather. It didn't look good. This wasn't going to be a 20 minutes storm. The forecast was calling for hours of rain. We made the decision to buy ponchos and make a quick walk for the resort. We were getting soaked and found the water taxis shut down. We walked over to City Walk for the bus transportation. It was so chaotic there. I would think they would have every thing set up to help organize the buses. After about 20 minutes a guard came out and started roping off and getting people in line. The bus came a few minutes after that. We hopped on and were back at PBH about 3:30. This killed my plans for the whole day in the park. We were going to stay at the resort tonight anyway and swim. We hung out in the lounge till it was dinner time. Tonight was going to be the meal I was waiting for. It was Jerk chicken with coconut rice and salads. It was delicious. I was bad and forgot pics on this one too. We had a great meal and we were watching the weather. It wasn't looking good for pool time. We were so bummed. We decided to walk around a bit anyway. I wanted to check out the Mandarin Spa. I knew they had some facilities for guests to use. We stopped in and found out that we could use the fitness center, sauna, steam room and hot tub. It costs $10.00 a day. However, there is an upside that I didn't know about. If you are club level you get the facilities free of charge. Well we were doing party:. The spa is 18 and over. I talked with the teens and asked if they would mind if we went for a couple of hours and this would give them some hang time. They said no so off we went to get ready. The spa is really clean and peaceful. Brian and I had the hot tub to ourselves. The sauna and steam room are separate. He went into his and I went into mine. It was nice and quiet. They had little cups of trail mix, they had water with fresh fruit. They offer all toiletries and dryers and brushes. They have bathrobes you can use:hug:. We just spent a couple of hours there and went back relaxed. We washed up in the room and watched TV. I gave the family a choice of early entry or a little later. Everyone wanted to sleep in an extra hour and I was good with it.:thumbsup2

    P.S. Brian didn't get his picture with Captain America. The rain washed out meet and greets. He was so sad it was something he looked forward to.
     
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  13. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    First let me say you all look so great in the picture you shared with us

    Second, rain is not our friend when on vacation at the darkside

    But you made the best of that late afternoon quite well

    Hot tubs rule!
     
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  14. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Lol! You are so right about the rain. It is Public Enemy #1:P

    Thanks for the compliment. It's funny that most people think Charlie is my son. We look a lot alike.

    I don't know where I would be without a hot tub:D...Oh yea that's right I know I wouldn't be shopping for a new bathing suit every few months from the chemicals.:laughing:
     
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  15. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

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    Awesome updates. Lots of smiles, always good to see in a Trip Report.

    And thanks for the club pictures, all seem like nice, fresh food.

    Thanks for getting back to adding to your report. Still enjoying reading and seeing the pictures. We will try VB in August. First time I did, was in October, then as a family at end of December. We all liked, but we are water park fans. We like Aquadica just as much.
     
  16. ckmiles

    ckmiles Mouseketeer

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    Loving this trip report and all the pictures.

    You have a beautiful family!
     
  17. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Hi thanks again. Yes I love seeing happy smiles on vacation photos too. The club level was amazing there. The food was very fresh and there was plenty. I would only do club level now at this resort.
    We love VB all around. We are a water park family and have been to many different ones. Outside of this one Blizzard Beach and Water Country in Virginia are nice. I have not been to Aquatica yet. I was planning on going next summer with the discovery cove tickets included but now with the change not sure what I will do. I heard it is a nice park though.

    Thank you so much! I am lucky to have them. I am enjoying doing the report is such a nice way to remember. I wish I had taken more photos of certain things but I will continue to try and remember too.
     
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  18. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    Day 4- Studios

    I had looked at the weather forecast and it was the same as yesterday. Rain coming in about 2-3. I had already told every one they could sleep in a bit so I felt bad changing it to an early time to get more time at the parks. We got up got ready and went to the lounge for breakfast. It is the same thing every morning but it was to everyone's liking. We headed out and grabbed the boat launch. We could have walked but honestly I enjoy taking the boat. We started at the studios again hoping to hit DA first with no crowds. I think there was suppose to be a graphic inserted.

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    We headed in with no AP issues at the turnstiles.:cool1: As we were walking to DA I noticed the Mummy was open. I thought that was weird but we kept walking. I heard an cast member say that Gringotts is down. I guess they decided to open Mummy instead. We detoured to Mummy and got right on. It is always a great ride.
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    I love ride photos. It is so funny to see how everyone reacts. When we got off we headed over to DA. Well they must have gotten Gringotts opened pretty quickly so now we had to wait a bit. I got scolded a bit for not going there first.:sad2: After a bit all was forgiven. We go in line and get up to the cast member and low and behold row 3 again. Charlie saw we were upset and laughing at the same time. He went up to the person and asked nicely if we could wait a turn to get the front. They let us and we were on the next run. This ride is so good in the first row. After that we walked around DA then headed over to F&F again. I didn't want to really ride it but they did so we went. It was no better the second time. After that we went on Fallon, which Charlie and I like. Then we headed to Transformers. Now this is another ride we always get the third row. Again we were going to get placed in the third row. Here comes Charlie and again asks about the first row and waiting. I heard him say "my mom" what ever he referenced he called me "mom". That made me feel so nice.:love: I never ever try to be anything like that to him only a friend and role model. It was on him but it made me happy. We then decided it was going to be lunch at Toothsome day.:banana: I know a lot of people don't like it but we have only had great meals and love the atmosphere. We decided to head over about 11:00 and there was no line. We got seated right away. We love their too chocolate stout and ordered black and tan rings and a zucchni appetizer. We all decided on lunch. Olivia had the shrimp and crab mac and cheese. Charlie and I had the gnocci and mole sauce and Brian had the meatloaf made with brisket.

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    Everything was fantastic:D We decided to skip desert today We already head some butter beer. I was trying to watch my sugar intake :rolleyes:. After we headed over to the studios again and did Minions. This is one of my favorite rides there. By now the sky was looking dark and I was sure the storms were coming in. We went over to RRR for the boys to ride. Now I like this ride but if it is early on I skip it because it can give me a headache. The boys went on and did their secret code to get the secret songs and it worked. It was nice to have them happy. We went back over to DA to shop. We had just finished window shopping and then the rain started. At first it was drizzle and we put our ponchos on. The sky within minutes opened up and it was so windy and rainy. We made it over to the bathrooms by Transformers. We stayed there for a bit. I checked the weather and it didn't look good for a few hours. We decided to go back to the resort. Today we went right to City Walk knowing the boats were done. The lines here at the buses were no better. Everyone was pushing and shoving to get on. We did make the first bus that showed up. We went back to the resort and plopped on the couch in the lounge. We just relaxed and had snacks. The world cup was on I think and we just chilled. We had dinner at 5:00. Now tonight was beef enchiladas. I was doing a gluten free diet and that was out. I had asked if they could just give me the filling on a dish. I had brought my own tortilla chips. They did and it was great. We had our dinner then decided back to the room. It did clear up so out we headed to the pool. Well we were there for about a half hour and it closed again. Back to the room the teens went. We stopped into the spa for a short time. When we got back to the room we dried off. We decided to hang at the lounge and play games. They offer a bunch of board games. The desert offerings would be starting soon. Oh and each night at dinner Brian took advantage of the beer and wine. It was lower end beers but they did have an Italian one that was good. The wine selection was average. It worked for him.

    Before we went to the lounge we stopped in our room. We saw the milk and cookies from Luke at the front desk. He had wrote a nice card with it. We were so thrilled. It really made Olivia's day. We would be sending a thank you note to the front.
    We played uno and relaxed. The deserts came out and they were amazing.:worship:

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    When the lounge closed we headed to our room. We showered and got ready for bed. We were going to do IOA at opening.
     
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  19. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead Moderator

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    desserts look yummy!
     
  20. bobbie68

    bobbie68 DIS Veteran

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    They were awesome!!!
     
  21. Lynne G

    Lynne G DIS Veteran

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    More food pictures. Awesome. How fun, to get that all in before the rain came. And sweets to end the post. Yum!
     

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