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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:04 PM  
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Scottishnellies 5th Element 2019. Day 8 Donut Experiment, Ellenton Outlets, NBC Grill, Citywalk

I woke at 6:20 and still felt quite tired so wasn't sure whether to get up or not. But then again once I am awake I can rarely fall asleep again so just got up and dressed. I didn't make a coffee incase I wanted to go back to bed when I got back.

Out the door along the deserted street and out to my wee bay spot.

There were big puddles everywhere after last nights rain

Sunrise was different again today. Started all fiery pink

Then the cloud all clumped together and you couldn't see the sun at all until it got quite high

On the way back Larry was having a paddle in the puddle

Home and Kieran was up. I wasn't sleepy enough to go back to bed so had some breakfast and pottered about stripping Kierans bed and putting washing on.

Kevin was up next and I started packing up the kitchen, just trying to leave what folk might need for breakfast

At 8 we wrapped Kieran up in the 18th birthday banner we got Caitlin, and went into her room singing happy birthday.

She opened her cards from us and the ones from her mum that she had brought with her. It was hard to make it special when we were about to leave and move elsewhere. It meant no cake etc.

Everyone showered and fed we started to pack the car. While doing so Kieran spotted a tortoise crawling across the drive and under the car. Thank goodness he did see him. Can you imagine? It's not really something you think to check for before you drive off!

The kids were all crawling about to see him

Kevin lifted him out and onto the garden at the side then we set off at 9:15

Our first stop was to the Donut Experiment. What better way to celebrate a birthday when there was no cake?

You choose your glaze, choose your topping then they make them up for you.

We got a box of 6 so the kids could have 2 each. Kevin didn't want any and I can't eat donuts, although I did have one bite out of each of Hannah's. Purely for journalistic purposes. Oh my - yum! They were very light and airy. Not stodgy at all.

Back into the car and stopped at dollar tree then the island bazaar shop next door as Caitlin was looking for AMI mementos.

She bought a few things but I'm not posting them here or her family will see! They did have lots of cute t-shirts and I kind of fancied an AMI vest top but not at $25 a pop

Kieran enjoyed messing about with all the tat

I then popped into CVS for more Off deep woods and Cortizone 10. I'm taking no chances even for when we get to Orlando!

Back into the car and we waved a final farewell to the island. It's been a fabulous week and we talked about what our highlights were for our beach week.

Kevin - morning walks on the beach
Kieran - snorkelling and holding a live sand dollar
Hannah - snorkelling
Caitlin - the sunsets and the snorkelling
Helen - sunrise, gorgeous beaches, sunset

Ahhhhh! Just been total paradise.

We were heading to the Ellenton outlets now which is 30mins east of AMI so is sort of on our way to Orlando.

First stop was Michael Kors where Caitlin was like a kid in a sweet shop! She was undecided between umpteen bags so we decided to move on and come back to it later when she'd had time to think.

Kate Spade next and I was very reserved in only buying a purse and one necklace. Caitlin got a pair of earrings.

We went into Calvin Klein next and despite trying a few things on we only bought Hannah a pink denim skirt (which she wore that night) and Caitlin got a t-shirt.

I had to use so much self restraint in here. They had so many gorgeous dresses I would normally have bought for work. And even though I know I'm not working I'm so drawn to them. It was torture

Guess next, and the kids tried on loads. We got Hannah 4 tops, Kieran 2 polo tops, and Caitlin bought jeans, a red top and sunglasses.

I also got a pair of sparkly trainers $29.99. I can't resist sparkly trainers, and they are a lot more sparkly than they look in my photo.

Ralph Lauren - I got a jumper and a polo shirt. And Caitlin got her family some stuff so no photos. Kevin had an extra 30% off code as he is signed up to their email.

We doubled back to Calvin Klein for Hannah to buy her boyfriend some shorts she had seen.

by now it was 1:15 and I wanted back on the road for 2pm so we headed back to Michael Kors where Caitlin got a gorgeous butterfly bag and matching wallet for $89

Caitlin had worn her 18 birthday badge I brought her and in nearly every shop the assistants all wished her happy birthday and made a fuss of her which was really nice.

Caitlin was delighted with what she had got so far and also that she still has loads of money left. She is itching to do more shopping. Particularly in Victoria's secret.

This was in direct contrast to Hannah who was chucking a strop because I didn't buy her a Michael Kors purse she wanted. This all comes back to her not making any effort to save up for coming here but still expecting to be bought whatever she wants. I've told her I will think about it. I think I have a plan that will be a decent compromise. We will see.

Back into the car and on our way to Orlando for the 1hr 45m Drive While driving I wrote up today's trippie so far, and a Walmart shopping list.

The plan was for Kevin to drop us at the villa so we get ready while he went to walmart. Yeah. That was the plan.

Arrived at the villa at 3:30 and when we walked in we could see straight away that it hadn't been cleaned yet. The beds were stripped and dumped in the living room and the floors and bathrooms were dirty. We were 30 minutes ahead of the 4pm checkin time so I knew there was a chance the cleaners hadn't arrived yet but I was worried they'd just missed it completely and wouldn't turn up.

Kevin was desperate to unload all our stuff but I didn't want everything coming into someone else's dirt so was arguing with him not to empty the car.

I rang the Management company number which rang for ages then eventually gave a message saying they closed at 2pm and to ring another number in emergencies. Was it an emergency? Well it was to me! No matter because that number just went to an answer service anyway. I was in a bit of a panic/strop by now. I was already worried that we weren't able to make Caitlins 18th birthday special enough on a changeover day without this. Just when I took my watch off and rolled up my sleeves, as I thought I was going to have to the clean the place myself, the door went and the cleaners appeared.

They were pretty laid back about it and just said they'd had a lot of houses to turn around today. They said they should be done by around 5:15.

Nothing else we could do but go out and leave them to it. So we left our stuff in the front twin room that Kieran would use as it was immaculate and clearly hadn't been used since the last clean. We piled back into the car and headed for Walmart. Because of where High Grove is you do a funny loop thing along a short part of the 192 to get back into the US27 towards Walmart. When we did this we saw the new Aldi on the 192 was now open. Yay

Not sure what date it opened but looked very recent with a 'grand opening' sign out front.

Got most of our shopping in here with exception of fruit juice (not a great choice) beer and Seagrams (same) clingfilm (none) and shampoo/cond (Hannah's choice to wait). Just to note there really is a big difference in price. Just as an example a slab of 24 wee bottles of water is nearly half the price in Aldi than it is in Walmart. And fruit n veg are much cheaper too. Everything is really.

then onto Walmart for the rest of the bits we needed. It was bouncing as it was now 4:45 on a Saturday afternoon. I hate trailing round busy supermarkets which was another reason why kevin had been going to this on his own. I normally do a click and collect order but hadn't as we weren't sure what we would need having already been here a week, and still having some groceries leftover to bring up to Orlando.

After battling around Walmart we got back to the villa and just waited around the corner til the cleaners had left. They were done by 5:10pm, and I have to admit they had done an amazing job. The place was absolutely immaculate now and smelled lovely. And although it set my plans back a wee bit and had me in a bit of a strop, I do realise that the management company being 1 hour late cleaning a villa really is no big deal.

The girls all dived into showers while the boys unpacked the shopping and put it away.

By 6:35pm we were all ready to go. Stopped for some gas on the 192 on the way

Parked in the universal garages at. 7:20 and made our way through to security. This was the first time we had ever gone through this way. Any time we have been at Universal we've been staying in one of the hotels.

Security was very busy but moved really fast. Then along the walkways and down into city walk. It was mobbed as you would expect in a Saturday night. I wondered how long we would need to wait for a table.

Caitlin had worn her 18 badge and LOADS of people wished her happy birthday as we walked through in that happy enthusiastic way that only Americans can. It was so nice!

Caitlin had narrowed her choices down to Vivo Italian or NBC grill and on the night chose NBC

We went in and asked, fully expecting a long wait, only to be seated straight away. By 8pm we had ordered.

Kieran had the smokehouse burger

Hannah & Caitlin both had the
tomato goats cheese chicken. This was the best dish. Juicy grilled chicken with feta and tangy tomato and capers. Hannah even ate the mash it came with which is unheard of!

Kevin had bang bang chicken which he shared half n half with Kieran. They said it was really nice.

And I had chicken pot pie which I shared half n half with Caitlin. It was bigger than my head! The pastry was lovely. The filling was nice enough but was quite heavy handed with the herbs I thought.

I had a couple of glasses of Merlot and the kids had various lemonade/cokes which the waitress was very quick to refill every time they got near the end.

We ordered desserts then. I shared strawberry cheesecake with Kevin

and all 3 kids had chocolate brownie sundaes which were massive. The waitress had piped happy 18th birthday onto a plate in chocolate but the time I took the photo it had melted.

Paid the check

It was darkening down as we left and citywalk was all lit up and buzzing with a good atmosphere.

We walked through and when we reached the live music stage I suggested I sit here with the boys and let the girls go and have a look around together. Partly because I felt like we were cramping their style and partly because I was absolutely shattered now. It had felt like quite a rushed day all in all.

They came back after a while and sat with us at the live music stage. There was a really good band in with a rocky female singer.

I have a complete lack of photos. I think I was just too tired and off my game a bit.

We got home around 11:30 and I just fell into bed, which is why there was no trip report this morning. There was no way I could stay awake long enough to type it up and take pics of the shopping!

Caitlin did say she had really enjoyed her birthday,

Edited at 11:20 AM.
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:22 PM  
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Happy Birthday Caitlin 🎁🎂🎉

Southern Dunes 2006 & 2007 Highlands Reserve & Hard Rock Hotel May & Sep 2008 The Sanctuary West Haven 2009 Freedom of the Seas & Doubletree Resort 2010 Highlands Reserve May 2012 Windsor Hills 2014 New York 2016
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:23 PM  
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Yay - I've been checking for this on my breaks all day haha. One minute before my lunch break and you'd posted! AMI looks amazing, I'd love to visit some day. The Donut Experiment looks great, it's a shame you can't eat them

Happy birthday Caitlin!
September 2015 - Avanti Resort/Cabana Bay/Wilderness Lodge
September/October 2016 - Avanti Resort/Grand Beach Hotel Miami Beach
September/October 2019 - Avanti Resort
September 2020 - Aventura Resort (Universal)

Edited at 02:27 PM.
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:42 PM  
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Excellent fab day and happy 18th to Caitlin

Thanks for taking the time to post, really enjoying reading
Marriott Motel, I-Drive 1991, Marbella Davenport 2009, Windsor Palms 2010, 2012, Windsor Palms & RPR 2014, Windsor Palms, RPR & HRH 2016, Anna Maria, RPR, HRH & Windsor Palms 2018, Miami, Orlando, Anna Maria & Naples 2019
Currently planning for Summer 2021
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Let the planning commence!
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:42 PM  
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Still sounds like a great birthday and managing to treat yourself to a lovely handbag, makes for a special day
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:44 PM  
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Sounds like Caitlin had a birthday to remember! So looking forward to going to the new Aldi when we are there. Hope you enjoyed your evening at City Walk. Do you have to pay for parking at night?
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:45 PM  
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Ah a fab day! Where abouts is the new Aldi! We are staying at sunset lakes hoping it’s up that end of the 192, we have used the other one before but it’s all the way down the 192 past old town! Happy birthday Caitlin!
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:48 PM  
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Ah I’ve just found it, very close here for anyone going to use it

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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:51 PM  
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A lovely day for Caitlin’s 18th. A shame about the villa not being ready for your arrival, but at least they did a good job when they did turn up. Looks like Caitlin has had a good day.
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Old 30 Jun 19, 02:54 PM  
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Great day yes the new Aldi is nearer sun set lakes near the 27 junction end opened at the beginning of this month
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