codym's DIBB Photo Blogs
Today was the dreaded 'going home day'
We started with some breakfast (thank you yet again Dunkin Donuts )
Next was some pool time, always have to get those last few rays of sunshine
Tidied the villa a bit and checked all the drawers etc. Finished off packing and Robbie had his usual little huff about the amount of stuff we'd bought and how would we fit it all in & the kids bought too many teddies and toys etc etc. It's the same every year and we always manage to fit it in and the cases have never been overweight on the way home (unlike myself ) The whole packing and going home thing just seems to stress him out!
We packed up the car, said goodbye to the lovely villa and headed to Walmart and GameStop down the road! The boys had a good browse in GS and bought a few things. Rob went into DD for a coffee and came back with a Xmas tree decoration, it was a little 'elf on the shelf' elf holding a box of Dunkin Donuts I loved it Forgot to take a picture no it's in the attic now... We went to Walmart next as I wanted to pick up a couple of Disney tshirts and pens, notepads etc.
Last stop before the airport was the Mall at Millenia for a browse and our final meal in the Cheesecake Factory.
Robbie bought another top in Tommy Bahama, I got some candles there and a couple of tops on sale in Banana Republic. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and it was absolutely freezing in there, like really really really cold. We asked to sit outside as it was just too cold in the restaurant. We were seated outside but near a fan and it was still freezing there, I ended up putting on Robbie's new jumper he'd just bought! Lunch was delicious and we got some cheesecake to take away for the airport
We were about to leave and I realised I had to work in 2 days and had no black jeans or trousers that would fit me when I got home from this holiday, I'd really indulged! I need to wear black for work so I flew upstairs to Gap and bought a pair of jeans and 2 pairs of Christmas pjs for the boys. I didn't take a photo of the jeans but here's the boys on Xmas Eve in their pjs!
We drove to the airport for the dreaded journey home. Changed into warmer clothes when we got there, ate the cheesecake and hung around being miserable while we waited to board.
This was the last picture I took in Florida
The flight home was easy enough, kids slept for most of it and I slept for an hour or two, Robbie a bit more. We landed in Dublin on Sunday morning and my Dad collected us.
We had such a fantastic holiday full of firsts even though I kept forgetting to point them out during the report!
It was our first time going to Florida just the 4 of us and it's the only way I want to go in future. It's so much easier when it's just us and you get so much more done when there isn't a big group together.
It was our first time staying at a Universal resort and we absolutely loved it. The onsite perks far outweigh the Disney onsite ones imo and we will be doing this every year we go in future.
It was our first time going to Anna Maria Island, what a stunning place this is. Pictures don't do it justice and we are returning here again this year.
Lots of the rides were firsts for us this year especially Disney shows, it was our first time to ride the Mummy, the new Hulk, 7 dwarves mine train, spaceship earth, the new Soarin, to see The Lion King, Fantasmic, Beauty and the Beast live on stage, Its tough to be a bug, to meet talking Mickey, Mary Poppins, Mickey & Minnie at Adventurers Outpost and Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace. It was Odhrán's first time to ride Space Mountain, Expedition Everest and Escape from Gringotts.
It was our first time to have the character breakfast at CP, to eat at Toothsome, Vivos, First Watch & Mannys.
It was our 5th visit in the last 8 yrs and yet there is still more to do, see and eat!
If you have made it this far, thank you so much for reading and thank you to everyone for all the comments, it really spurred me on to keep going with the report and I'm so glad I did
Hope you've enjoyed it, I'll be back soon with a pre trip report for this year
Today was our last full day We had another breakfast at Perkins as we knew today was our last chance to have breakfast out. It was delicious as usual.
Animal Kingdom was our park of choice today, it was Veterans Day and oh my goodness it was absolutely packed when we got there. We had fastpasses for Its Tough to be a Bug (first time for us) Primevil Whirl and of course, Expedition Everest.
ITTBAB was up first. We thought it was good but I think we expected more so we're a bit meh about it really! Lovely seeing the tree of life up close in the queue though, amazing how many animals are in it when you really look closely.
After this we did PW and then went to the Boneyard for a while to wait for our EE fastpass. It was too busy to walk around so we just stayed there for a while. EE was fantastic as usual. I was so sad getting off it knowing it was our last ride of the holiday
I took this picture on the tram leaving AK... I was battling tears leaving the park
We went back to the villa for some pool time and stopped in Dunkin Donuts on the way for a few treats. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the villa we stay in is so close to a DD
We had some lunch and did a bit of packing while the kids played in the pool. Our room had sliding doors onto the pool deck so great to be able to get a few things done while the boys enjoyed the pool
We were going to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner so left about 6. It was lovely as usual. Went straight to the Boardwalk afterwards. We stayed a few nights at the Beach Club last year so had spent more time in this area and had meant to return more this year but just never got a chance. I love it around here, it's so beautiful
We watched a clown doing a few tricks and then walked up towards the shop for a browse. There was a magacian there that the kids wanted to watch and of course when he looked for a volunteer Fionn's hand was straight up. He got picked and was soooo delighted with himself
We were here for about 20 mins. The show was really good and Fionn really enjoyed himself
We went into the shop after. I bought a spatula and Robbie bought a tie, see the hidden Mickeys through it, it's really subtle when you don't know they are there! He chooses this one most days that he needs to wear a tie now
The boys got some cotton candy after the shop, I had planned to get something here but was too full to eat anymore (a very rare occurrence for me!)
We stopped off in the Boardwalk hotel restrooms... they are so nice, I really like this hotel and would think about staying here at some stage. Great location and the hotel is beautiful
We returned home to the villa for the last time, tomorrow was going home day
So, being a Christmas Eve baby and an absolute Christmas nut this was the night I'd been waiting for all year!! I was so excited that we were doing MVMCP. I absolutely love MNSSHP so I couldn't wait to experience the Christmas one.
We wanted to take it easy today so we started with a yummy breakfast at Perkins. I only took a picture of my food, blueberry pancakes and a side of breakfast potatoes, my god I love carbs
We went to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours after this and did all the slides and wave pool and everyone had a laugh at me again trying to get out of the rings!
Back to the villa stopping at target for a few supplies. Had lunch at the villa and chilled out until it was time to leave.
I actually thought I might combust with excitement, Disney and Christmas, absolute heaven
Took a few photos as soon as we went in. We were given these cookies with the map
How beautiful was the castle
We headed over to Space Mountain and rode that then decided to meet the Seven Dwarves. We ended up queuing for an hour , it was longer than we expected and there seemed to be a few difficulties after the dwarves changed over once or twice where they came our for 2/3 minutes and went straight back in again Anyway, they were fantastic when we did meet them
We got some treats and rode The Barnstormer. Went back to SM again and rode that then hung out at the Tomorrowland Christmas show for a bit. We spotted Goofy on the way there but weren't bothered queuing as it was quite long.
We walked around to the hub next to see the Christmas show on the stage before the fireworks. Picked up more hot chocolate and cookies on the way around. I didn't get photos of this show so will add this one of when we arrived instead
We got a good spot at the top of Main Street for the fireworks Oh my god they were just amazing. This was without a doubt my favourite ever Disney fireworks display, I didn't think it could beat Hallowishes but it was truly breathtaking and one of those pinch yourself moments. I felt so lucky that we could be here
I didn't actually take many photos as I was just so enthralled with the display
We decided after this to just wait it out, we had a good front row spot for the parade. It wouldn't be passing us for a little over an hour but I wanted to hang on to these spots. We were sitting beside a lovely family from New York and chatted to them. Odhrán fell asleep in the buggy and Fionn fell asleep on the ground, I didn't care, I was being a selfish parent tonight and I was staying for the parade no matter how tired they were! Robbie went off to Starbucks for some tea & coffee to keep us going. It got a bit chilly this evening, I think this was the first time I'd ever felt actual cold in Florida. Of course it didn't help that Odhrán woke up at about 10pm saying he was cold (he did have a hoodie on) so I took my hoodie off and used it as a blanket for him.
I took some photos of Main Street and the performers that entertained us during the wait.
We got this photopass done while waiting. That's Fionn asleep on Robbie's knee and Odhrán in the buggy behind me!
It snowed! On Main Street! I loved every minute of it. Such an amazing night, I'd love to do MVMCP again but the chillier evenings weren't my thing so wouldn't go quite so late ( we were there from 27thOct -12th Nov) every year but will definitely do it again. We only noticed the chillier evenings from the 10th November onwards.
We left after the parade, what a fantastic night, I really loved MVMCP!
Today started with the news that Trump was the president elect I actually couldn't believe it, I honestly thought it was a joke when I first heard he was running for president, hard to believe he ended up winning. We watched a bit of news on TV and had breakfast at the villa. (Dunkin Donuts may have featured again :/ )
The kids love the Toys R' Us at the Florida Mall so we were headed there today. I have to say, I love it there too, it's much better than any toy shop we have here in Ireland We had to persuade the boys not to buy these! They both are obsessed with teddies and buy so many character ones over there every year that we fill a carry on case with them so these guys were just a step too far in size!!
We spent about an hour in there and the boys spent lots of their money. Went over to the main mall next for the Christmas Shop & Macy's. I bought 3 tree decorations in the Xmas shop but forgot to photograph them and they are now packed away in the attic. Bought nothing in Macy's.
We were hungry at this point so went to Five Guys for lunch. Love it here although one opened in Dublin last year so it's not the same novelty anymore. The Oreo milkshakes are soooo good.
It was on to Animal Kingdom after lunch. We had fastpasses for the safari and 2 for Expedition Everest I had only made these fastpasses the night before as today had been a 'return to any park day' on our plans and had made our first one for Kali River Rapids but I wasn't even sure we would do it but there wasn't much choice. When we got up that morning I said I was going to cancel KRR because we left the villa later than planned and didn't want to be rushing from the mall to AK. Well, some good luck intervened as I got a message from Disney saying they had to cancel that FP and I could make one for any other ride so that's how I got 2 for EE plus I got the 2nd one a bit later in the day which suited us better as well!
Annoyingly, a woman and her child got into our row on the safari truck even thought he cast member had removed people from other rows that weren't from the same party and kept saying only 1 party per row. It meant we could only get good photos from one side of the truck After the safari we went straight to EE and rode it and then could go again straight away with the open FP.
We decided to leave after this, it was nearly 5 & the boys wanted to go in the pool. Did a bit of shopping on the way out of the park, had been eyeing up this bag that was $20 with any purchase over $70. (Or maybe it was over $50, I didn't write it in my notes so am working from memory.)
Bought these 2 frames and a replacement bowl for one that we broke at home! It was $85 for the lot, the bag is great, it has so many pockets etc so it'll make a great summer day out bag this year for the beach, local parks etc
We go back to the villa and Fionn was straight in the pool. Odhrán didn't end up going in, everyone was tired today, you know when you get a day where all the action catches up on you, today was it for us! We ordered pizza for dinner as nobody could be bother going back out and had an early night
Today was our wedding anniversary. Our first time celebrating it abroad & we couldn't think of anywhere else we would rather be We had dinner booked in the Tommy Bahama restaurant at Pointe Orlando for later on.
We tried the new IHOP on H27 for breakfast. This is our third time trying IHOP over the years and we are never very happy with it. The food came in dribs and drabs and was only warm not hot. It's always just a bit blah so we probably won't bother with an IHOP again.
We headed to Typhoon Lagoon after breakfast and it looked nice and quiet when we pulled up
Great day, got ourselves settled in front of the wave pool. Kids played away on the little slides and at the back of the pool. We all went off for some slides then. They all love having a laugh at me on slides! I always manage to fall out of the rafts or rings when trying to get out of them and come up coughing and spluttering, it's never a very gracious exit for me and the boys love to watch and laugh at me, such a loving family Back to the wave pool after a few slides, Robbie and Fionn like to go as far up the font as they can, I stay at the back with Odhran and worry about Fionn being too far up the front, he's always fine and absolutely loves it but that big wave freaks me out! We left about 2pm and went back to the villa, the kids were straight in the pool even though they'd spent the morning in the waterpark! We just chilled out, had lunch, wrote some notes and got ready for our evening
Fionn took this selfie on the selfie stick before we left!
Drove to Pointe Orlando, you get free valet parking if dining in Tommy Bahama so we pulled up in our Nissan rental behind all the fancy cars and handed over the keys
Headed into the shop first for a little look around and Robbie made his purchase (he can't enter a TB without buying something!). It was Election Day here and we chatted to the sales guys about this. Neither of them seemed enthusiastic about Trump so I'd say they were disappointed the next morning.
Anyway, we went to the restaurant and got seated. The kids started dozing off straight away, I think the day in water had them exhausted!
Dinner was delicious as is usual here. The cocktails are ridiculously strong. I couldn't finish my second one as it was going to my head so much, I felt like I was on my 5th not 2nd. Again, this has always be n my experience here, they must use much more alcohol than usual in the cocktails. They are delicious though
More selfies while waiting on the car, lovely end to a lovely day
This morning started with breakfast at the villa. There had been a little panic with teabags, I'm addicted to tea and always use the m&s extra strong teabags at home. I had brought a packet with me thinking there was 80 in it but there was only 40... major panic as the only place I could get a cup of tea I liked was Starbucks so I used my own anywhere else until I tried Dunkin Donuts black tea one of the days, it was surprisingly good so seeing as there was a DD just up the road from the villa Robbie was sent to get tea from there and of course a few snacks The little hash browns from here are lovely As are the donut holes...
Our first stop of the day was the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. We had never been here before. We went to Tommy Hilfiger, Gap & The Theme Park Outlet. We were mainly shopping for presents to bring back today.
In TH I got 2 pairs of flip flops for myself, a top for me, 2 pairs of socks for my Dad (he loves these socks!) & a top & bag for my niece. $94 for the lot
Theme Park Outlet was next, it wasn't great, a few bargains though. I got an Elsa top & Minnie teddy for my goddaughter, $20.
Always have to look in Gap so went there next and got 2 pairs of shorts & a top for $30. I had been looking at the navy shorts in the Gap outlet store in Dublin during the summer and they were €38 there! There was 50% off in this shop and I had an email for a further 40%. I would say the bargains in this particular Gap store are better than the other outlets.
After Gap we left and drove to the Mall at Millenia. I love this mall. Anywhere with the Cheesecake Factory is always a winner We had a look around, Robbie bought in Tommy Bahama as usual and I went to White House Black Market. Tried on lots of different things but wasn't really happy with anything and bought nothing. Resisted the temptation of visiting Tiffanys as I knew I wouldn't be purchasing anything there this year so thought it best to just stay out!! Had a look in Macy's and bought some Xmas decorations. I love the Villeroy & Boch Xmas stuff, it's really old fashioned and traditional looking but is so expensive here so I always try to get something over there. Picked up the V&B nutcracker tree decorations & the Macy's flip flop tree decoration for $30.
It was now time for lunch
I actually took photos of this meal!
Actually I only photographed my own
Take away cheesecake, we are always too full to eat it there.
We went back to the villa for an hour & then went to HS where we had FP for Star Tours, Tower of Terror & Fantasmic.
ST & ToT were great as usual. We had never done Fantasmic before so we're really excited about this.
Waiting for the show to start
Hmmm, I know this will be an unpopular opinion here on the dibb but we thought Fantasmic was a bit rubbish. Glad we did it but I wouldn't bother doing it again!
We headed home to the villa after
We started the day with brekkie at Perkins on the 192. We find this restaurant consistently good each year & along with Keke's it's our favourite place for breakfast.
Next it was on to Epcot. We had a FP for Spaceship Earth (a first for us) and Test Track. Spaceship Earth was only ok, wouldn't be bothered with it, test track was fun as usual though
The boys spent ages getting in and out of all the cars after TT & pretending they were driving
After this we walked to Japan to get Pokemon stuff for Odhrán. Belle was out in France so we stopped for a quick picture.
We left after Japan and went to Disney Springs. It was still pretty much a building site last year so we were looking forward to seeing what it looked like. It's gorgeous, they really did a great job. First stop, as always if there's one around, was Tommy Bahama, Rob bought something in here & I got some candles. (Their candles are the nicest if you're into candles!)
The boys got one of these movie photos done in the marvel shop.
We had lunch in Wolfgang Pucks, I love the pizzas here, so good.
Got dessert in Ghirardellis, oh how I'd love something from there now, yum yum.
Got some of these after reading about them every year in JoJo88's 'Jamerica' Trip reports, she's not wrong, they are delicious so thanks Jo
After hanging out in the lego store for a while & buying yet more lego we left to go to Posner Park. Robbie and the boys were going to the Trolls movie while I had a look around the shops. I started at the top in Ross & got a couple of bargains. This little Tommy Hilfiger purse/clutch was $10.
Saw this DKNY top & knew my niece would love it so picked it up for her, turned out to be another bargain at $8.
Spotted this all on its own on the way to the till & I'm always drawn to a Breton top, my wardrobe is full of them! It turned out to be another Tommy Hilfiger bargain at $17.
It was dark when I came out of Ross & it was quite a walk down to the cinema end where Target & JC Penney are. The footpath also ran out half way where there was undeveloped land between the 2 sections of the retail park. When your driving past here it feels like nothing but when your walking along there alone in the dark thinking of all the scary movies you've seen and imagining some crazy axe murderer snatching you at any moment, it is the longest stretch of grass imaginable I made it safely to the other side and looked in a few shops but made no more purchases. The movie was over so met up with the boys and we headed back to the villa. The kids loved Trolls Chilled out in the villa for the rest of the evening.
▼ Scroll down to load more blogs... ▼