#1) Georgia has been in a severe drought since very early in the summer. The ONLY days it rained this summer, were the ones we spent camping at the lake. The day the drought officially ends and we catch up on A L L the rain, the day we leave for Disney World! We had torrential amounts of rain from the time we left Dallas until we went through Valdosta and crossed the state line. Then, it cleared up beautifully! The sun came out and it got up to 81 degrees, then.. the rain started again, the temperature dropped back to 70 and we couldn't see the car in front of us. Then, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the temperature rose ... for 15 miles. The rain returned and well, you get the idea. All the way to Orlando. EVERY TIME it rained like that, a wreck happened and traffic came to a stand still. EVERY TIME, I kid you not. Some wrecks were fender benders that everyone stopped to gaze at while others were serious and very sad. It only took us about 9 & 1/2 hours, which isn't that much longer than our typical 8 hour trips. B U T it was a horrible drive and felt more like 15. Ugh!!
#2) Shades of Green will always make room for you when you are a frequent guest, UNLESS you are desperate for a room. I have called so many times wanting them to be full so we can go somewhere for 40% off, they always find room for us when we say how often we stay there. The calendar online reads FULL, but they have a room for us. We were pitiful and desperate yesterday, there was no room in the inn! There wasn't a single room available on property at Disney, not one.
#3) When you are desperate and have been driving in the rain for hours, you're tired, hungry and frustrated .... the first hotel you come to that has a room isn't always the best choice! We have stayed in some very small and very old places before, we can take it. We're not picky, give us clean and cheap and we'll be ok. After all, we're just sleeping there.... right? WRONG!
*note- it does NOT look like this picture in real life*
Ugh... we got a room, unloaded our stuff and walked across the street to UNO'S Chicago Grille, which was pretty darn good. Then we returned to our room. I wanted to get a shower, where I found we didn't have wash clothes, what's with that? Fine... We are ready for bed..... there are no fitted sheets, there is a top sheet .. on the bottom. There are 5 lights in the room, 2 of those don't work. This morning I discover a hairball I haven't seen before on the wall in the bathroom and as much as I shed, this one isn't mine! (I shoulda let Jo handle this part of the trip too huh?)
We wake up and desperately start looking for somewhere to go. Andy gets Shades on the phone (says "It's an emergency"), who still can't squeeze us in. I get Disney on the phone, who have one room open at Saratoga Springs for $399 a night, holiday rate... fun. (I did talk to a lady I'd talked to before, I remember because her name was "Briar Rose" that one sticks with ya. Cute though!) We can't do that- Then Andy goes off on a marathon spree of looking for places and rooms. More on that later.
#4) Orlando experiences 80 temps in the month of December and rarely see more than a light afternoon shower of rain. When we arrive, we bring it with us... the crappy weather that is. Today it was warm, but rained pretty much all day.
AND... There's more. Today on the news they said the high on Wednesday is 48 or something. It's suppose to freeze that night, big time. It's the COLDEST TEMPS IN FIVE YEARS!!! Yep, we bring all the fun huh??
#5) The three most crowded times of the year at Disney are Christmas Day, February and New Years. I'd experienced the first two times, first hand. Might as well see if they were serious about the third, right?!
They were serious. Today the Magic Kingdom posted a FULL sign on all the road signs, no kidding. I've never seen that before. Of course we're off property so would have to park somewhere else to get over there. Who would want there with so many people though? Nah-
#6) When the Magic Kingdom gets full, the next closest park that people would drive to is EPCOT. We decided we'd give it a try, ewww..... We got through the gate, but would had to have parked on the V E R Y last row of the parking lot. It was about to be FULL as well. Again, who really wants to be there with that many people? What are you gonna be able to do, seriously? Nah- Forget it.....
#7) Winter Summerland is such a dang fun place to play putt putt. Who knew that it had so many little fun things at each hole. I HIGHLY recommend you take time to go if you haven't before. We had a blast!! We are going to go back later this week to play the other side, we played "winter" today and want to play "summer" as well. Oh, and YAY for 50% annual pass discount.
AMBER & JONATHAN: Do you have time this week one night or next weekend to go play? Wanta join us?? It's so much fun!!! It'll be like $11 with your passes total, who can beat that? Oh and we ended up making ressies today for eating too, I know... I know... we said we weren't gonna do that this trip. I'll email you our days, times and places. You two are welcome to join us anytime!!
#8) Homewood Suites by Hilton is my new favorite "non-Disney" place to stay in the world! HOLY MOLY!! Andy found this place and seriously became my hero! It wasn't "that" expensive for a holiday rate and it is fabulous. The smallest are a one bedroom/one living room & kitchen suite. It is adorable. The kitchen has a stove, dishwasher, table, chairs and full size fridge. There is a menu thing that you can ask them to go grocery shopping with and they bring it to you within 3 hours. The living room has a couch that makes a bed, a leather chair, leather ottoman thingy and large TV. It has a window that overlooks the pool area. The bedroom has a king bed with 8 pillows (we had 2 in our whole scary room last night) and the most comfortable bedding in the world. (You can order it for your home) It has a HUGE TV with on demand movies, a chair and a window that looks into the pool area. There's a huge closet and huge bathroom.
*not my picture, but looks just like this... our suite has 2 windows that look at the pool area that's inside the middle of the buildings like this, it's also VERY heated...*
The lobby area offers a FREE hot breakfast buffet in the morning and a "welcome home" thingy each night. From 5-7 you can go eat for FREE. Tonight they had a salad bar, bread, spaghetti, drinks and home made cookies. Are you KIDDING ME? Every night it's different. (hot dogs, chili, fettucini alfredo, oriental chicken, the menu is on the fridge door... I feel like I'm at home)
FREE wireless internet access in your suite, the lobby, where ever. Can't get your wireless to work, no problem... they have a computer person at the desk to help you! (I needed a connector do hickey they let me borrow for some reason)
#9) Celebration is for sure the cutest community on Earth! When we win the lottery (right after we actually start playing) we are moving to Celebration. I'd said for years that we were going to visit and we finally went out there today. HOLY MOLY, it's absolutely the neatest place ever!! I felt like I was in that movie with the "fake" town, what's it called?? The drive out there we didn't pass a single soul, no car, very odd. We get there and it is as cute as Terry & Amber promised. The houses are so gorgeous, big or small. House or apartment, take your pick. They are all awesome. They were decorated for Christmas and I wanted to move right in! They have their own schools, town square with shops and business', post office, parks, playgrounds, sports leagues, random picnic benches or swings by ponds, the whole bit. It is DISNEY HEAVEN!
*nope, not my actual picture... this is celebration though*
#10) I really do love Bahama Breeze! We have one near home and have eaten there once, I loved it then too. We never make it over to the mall though, never. I forget it's out there. We have one in the same parking lot as our hotel, so we ventured out there tonight. (After actually driving around and looking for it BEFORE we realized it was the same parking lot.... felt so dumb...) They have THE BEST BBQ chicken flat bread ever! (Andy got cheese & tomato flat bread) We both got salads and I got a "strawberry sunrise" to go! (Orange sherbert, orange juice and strawberry syrup, no alcohol thank you kindly and it was THE BEST thing ever. I may go back tomorrow night for one too!! NOT KIDDING) It was fantastic and our bill was just @ $30, can you beat that with a dessert drink to go?
#11) Helicopter rides in Orlando aren't as much as I'd feared. I have been screaming for years that I AM RIDING IN A HELICOPTER AROUND DISNEY WORLD. (I even talked to Emmy about it, right chickie, ages ago?!) We checked it out today and the prices were much cheaper than I thought. (Really cheap compared to what we've paid in Niagra Falls and Gatlinburg) We are going to do it this week, hopefully the sun will return for it! I want it to be a sunny clear day!
#12) Golf "outlet" stores in Orlando aren't cheap! We found a golf store and I found about 3 bags that I'm in love with, all too much for me to handle though... Well, I guess if I played more I could see getting one.... but I don't. They were so cute.
#13) We really enjoy Rain Forest Cafe, seriously! We decided to browse around downtown Disney today and eat lunch at Rain Forest. Where, even though it was crazy crowded everywhere, we walked right in! I got a yummy turkey wrap and Andy had crab cheese dip. Both were yummy! There merchandise is VERY cheap right now, on sale!! (go go go) Andy got a rain coat, jacket thing that's black & gray .. very him. Says "Rain Forest" Orlando on the small right side and it was just $21. ALOT of sweatshirts were just $21 and t shirts were 2 for $19. Nice, quality stuff too, not the cheapy junk!! I thought about Christmas shopping for next year!!!
#14) Surprisingly, I can come stay in Orlando .. never make it to a park and be 100% content and enjoy myself a ton!! I never thought that was true. I expected to pout if we didn't go to a park for at least part of our day, we have passes for crying out loud. It wouldn't matter if we went for just awhile. But I confessed tonight that I really didn't want to go EVEN THOUGH IT'S NEW YEARS EVE AND WHAT WOULD BE MORE FUN THAT STARTING A NEW YEAR AT MY FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH???? It's so crowded out there and still raining on and off. We really did have a great day without going into a park, we still have SIX days left of this trip and I'm perfectly content with sitting here online rambling to whomever decides to read this on New Years Eve, no kidding! We're going to watch a movie on demand or TV and I'm guessing totally miss all the excitement. Just like at home.... LOL!!!