If you had read my mom’s post last week, you know that my youngest sister recently turned 18.

She is a special-needs child and 18 is a big deal after everything she has gone through. She loves Mickey Mouse, well Toodles to be exact. My mom’s goal was to take her to Disney World in Orlando Florida for her 18th birthday. It was a success, which you can read about here.

My parents did their own thing, as did my sister and her family. We only spent time with each other the first day. But, it’s always hard to plan a cohesive vacation with a big group, especially when everyone wants to do different things. Or changes their mind the whole time.

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Here is how our trip went.

We made arrangements with a local vet to keep our dog while we were gone; Gibralter Vet Clinic is my go to place for everything. They love vlad and he loves them, we’ve been taking him there since he was a puppy. Great place, I highly recommend them for anything pet related.

We dropped him off on a Friday that way we could leave the following morning. Our plan was to stop at some point to rest, which we did in Acworth, GA.

We drove through torrential downpours with just about zero visibility. That was fun. And eventually we made it to our resort.

This time we stayed in our unit at the Westgate resort.

I usually enjoy staying here, but this time they stuck us in the building across the entrance from the water park and delivery zone, on floor two. Its was awful and noisy. I believe I was woken up every day by 6am. Not fun.

I was also upset because the kitchen wasn’t stocked like it usually is, and when I asked for a skillet I was brought a small pot… yep. Not my best time at Westgate.

Other than that, the kids had a great time. We played the mini golf on site at least twice (it is one of Axtons favorite activity), rode in the swan paddle boats (that Zeppelin hated), and spent an evening at Shipwreck Island (the on site waterpark).

Outside the resort, oh boy.

We went to Disney Springs, early this time. It was nice. The crowds were down, probably due to it being an early Monday morning, and I finally got to purchase my poison apple. 🙂

Everyone we talked to at Disney Spings was super nice.

If you’re looking for something inexpensive to do, this is it. It free to get in, plus free parking. The only time you spend money is on the shops/restaurants. If you go for the Christmas season, be sure to do the Christmas Tree Walk, it’s beautiful.

 

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We spent two days at Disney, with the park hopper pass. First day we did Magic Kindom and Epcot (my personal favorite). The second day we did Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, you know all the new things in one day. 😉

This is the first time Axton has been tall enough to ride almost all the thrill rides. He stood in the long lines with no complaints and rode absolutely everything.

The new Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was beautiful. We waited in a 90 minute line to ride the Na’avi River ride, honestly it wasn’t worth it. It was beautiful don’t get me wrong, but it was boring. *If you’re going to stand in line for 90+ minutes for a river ride, I suggest going to Epcot for Frozen Ever After for that river ride.       The other ride in Pandora, Flight of Passage, I didn’t personally ride but Axton and Brian said it was way more fun. The got to ride the dragon things from the movie and walk through the lab where the avatars were kept. Again, another long line. I suggest if these are on your must do, to get fast passes ASAP.

I was all for the new ToyStory Land at Hollywpod Studios. Its was freaking fantastic! Small, but awesome… everything was made out of large toys! I do hope they expand it, perhaps after they are done with the new Star Wars part (which looks like it will be sweet as well)?     Axton loved the Slinky Dog roller coaster, it was amazing. The other rides were okay. The food was expensive for sandwiches, but delicious none-the-less. Oh, and my favorite part was the Toy Soldiers! They walked around the area, coloring with giant Crayons, playing with children, or in a drum line! Awesome.

We were out all day, both days. Lots of fun to be had.

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On our fourth day, that Thursday, we went to Legoland. Unfortunately, our trip was before the new Lego Movie area opened, which I’m so excited for, but we still had lots to do!

Again, Axton was tall enough for almost everything, his favorite ride (the whole trip) was The Dragon roller coaster.    He was tall enought to ride their new VR coaster, The Great Lego Race, but not old enough to wear the headset. If you’re an adult riding with a child that cannot wear the headset, you cannot wear one either. I sat with Axton, so Brian got to wear the headset. He said it makes a ton more sense with the headset and some how makes it a smoother ride, I assume this is because you can’t see the edge of the coaster. Still a fun ride with or without the VR.

When we purchased our tickets through the resort, we received a great deal. It was buy one ticket, get a child free, then all additional tickets were reduced to $61. On top of that, we received $10 Legoland cash for each ticket purchased, so all together it was $40. The Legoland cash could be used for food, drinks, or souvenirs.

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Our last day, we just did laundry and hung around doing the resort activities. During to bad weather in the forecast we left Saturday afternoon and drive straight through to ensure we missed all the rain and snow coming through the south.

 

Other places we visited this time that you should put on your list as well:

  • Zaxbys; fast food restaurant we stopped at right before the Florida Tolls. Delicious, juicy, and flavorful chicken, the staff was lacking in the friendly department though.
  • Candy Cauldron; inside Disney Springs. This is the only location (sweets shop) that has the poison apples. The staff was super friendly and helpful.
  • Bonanza Golf and Gifts; down the road from our resort. There were two courses to play in, 18 holes each. The kids had a blast and the course was a fun design.
  • Lego City Burger Kitchen; the whole place looks like a construction worksite, the kids meals come in adorable “lunch boxes.” The food was good, especially for the price (probably one of the cheaper places we ate at), if it wasn’t for the bacon on my burger I could have mistaken it for a Big Mac.
  • Restaurant Marrakesh; a Moraccan restaurant in Epcot. Delicious food, obviously expensive though.

 

-C