DisneyLIFE

fam at LEP

Happy 2015 everybody!  Thank you to all my visitors all over the world.  I haven’t been posting nearly enough as I should be, but that’s one of my resolutions for the new year.  Thank you again for all your support.

Orlando Florida family vacation:  September 20-27, 2014
There’s just something so happy and exciting about Disney Magic, and Dani just can’t stop talking about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

The weather was just perfectly suited to my taste: high in the mid 30’s (but not often) and low in the mid 20’s (mainly due to the rain, which came down 5 out of 7 days of the week).  In the dead heat of sunlight, I felt particularly suffocated because I’m not a “summer person.”  Plus, being pregnant, I’m always hot.  I welcomed the cooling sensation the rain brought, and strolling the air-conditioned malls almost every day was fun too, not to mention the swimming pools at the Orange Lake resort complex where we stayed for the week.

I shall rewind to day one and the adventures of happily married couple, adoring almost-three-year-old daughter, and 4-month-old baby swimming around in utero.  Leaving home at 5:30 am, we crossed the border and arrived at Buffalo International Airport around 8:00 am.  Flying out of BIA saved us at least $300-400 off typical fares out of Pearson.  We also parked across the street from the airport at the Hampton Inn for $5 a day, opting to take the $2.99 cancellation insurance (if something happens and your flight is cancelled or you can’t arrive within the next 24 hours, you’re not charged a late fee).  A 24-hour on-demand shuttle was ready at the door to take us over, and they provided us with a phone number to call a driver upon our return.  We were very pleased with the polite and efficient service.

Our first flight was to Atlanta, with a little over an hour to catch our connecting flight to Orlando.  No complaints or remarks to make here, as the flights and transitions were both speedy and smooth.  The first flight was under 2 hours, and the 2nd was just about one hour.  Even the wait at the rental car counter was fairly quick, although I’ll heed a warning here.  Car insurance for the week cost over $300, which was a surprise to us since we paid a third of that the last time we rented in Orlando.  Perhaps booking your car rental separate from a flight package and opting for their insurance is the safer bet.

After collecting the car seat and installing happy Dani into our black 2014 Ford Fusion (John wasn’t happy with the choice at all), we headed to Orange Lake West Village.  Our room exceeded our expectations.  We had used RCI exchange points to book and, listed as a Studio, it had a full kitchen minus the oven (stovetop, mini fridge, microwave, kettle, pots and pans, dishes, etc.)  To save some valuable shopping/Mickey dollars, we bought groceries at the nearby Target and Walmart stores and cooked a few dinners and even more breakfasts.

If you’re an Orange Lake timeshare owner, beware that you’re whisked to a separate desk to book your “return visit update” (aka Timeshare sales presentation).  The incentive was 50% the resort’s play-all-week package: mini golf, use of tubes for the lazy river, etc. for one hour of your time (we didn’t even end up buying it).

We dined at Ponderosa for our first evening (my how it has changed – pricey, and they eliminated the full buffet, boo hoo) and checked out some nearby stores i.e. Ross and Target, heading to bed early to recover from the 2.5 hours of sleep we had gotten the night before.

We were up early to catch our 8:00 am sales presentation, which we wanted to book first thing in the morning to just get it over with.  I’m extremely proud of Dani lasting the entire time, and of John and myself not upgrading or buying anything.  The last time we had attended such a presentation, we walked out with a timeshare =)  We had breakfast buffet at Sizzler, and after resting a bit that afternoon, headed to downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park.  We saw some swans and plenty of baby lizards (BUTIKI!  My favourite word!  LOL) and did some more shopping in the evening.

The next afternoon, after sleeping in again, we headed to Walmart to grab some groceries for the day: a barbecued chicken, salad, and some bread, and drove about 1.5 hours to Daytona Beach.  It was a perfect day: not blazingly hot or sunny, and quite empty on the beach.  If you’ve never been before, it costs $3.00 to park directly on the beach for the day.  Because it was overcast and rainy, there were only a handful of other cars nearby, which was just fine for us =)  On the way there, we passed the Daytona International Speedway and Vince Carter’s high school, for all you millions of Raptors fans out there.  =P

It was a lovely time.  Dani enjoyed playing in the not-so-packable sand and wading in the waves, although she caught and swallowed a mouthful of saltwater and vomited up some mushy strawberry remains (gross).  Afterwards, we headed to Toys R Us to pick up Dani’s Cinderella princess dress and the much coveted Shopkins, which were hard to find in stock back in Toronto and almost never available online.

I realize I’ve written quite a lengthy passage here, so I’ll save the rest for parts 2, 3 and maybe even 4 =)

Happy reading… don’t forget to come back!

Marbell-ous

ImageMonday

It is nearing the end of day two here at the Club Marbella Crown Resorts here in this small town (of the same name) near Malaga, Spain. What an excellent decision to leave this leg of the trip for last, since for the past week we’ve been commuting, sightseeing, and sleeping very little. These past few days, however, have consisted of eating, having a siesta, heading to Dani’s kiddie pool, eating, having a siesta, and so on. We are quite relaxed to say the least.  Perhaps a little too relaxed, as my belly jiggles and giggles and I can barely get up a few flights of stairs without panting (it’s also quite hot, teehee).  There is no AC in this apartment and the temperatures reach 30 degrees, so perhaps that’s why we’ve been really sluggish. Even Dani has been sleeping uninterrupted and for long stretches at a time (hope I didn’t jinx that).
Up until this afternoon, we’d eaten at the on-site restaurant and at a few places down the hill from our resort, and then we took the resort shuttle bus down to the supermarket and did some grocery shopping. It’s nice to have a fully-equipped apartment, complete with kitchen, washing machine, two bedrooms, and full bathrooms. The only thing lacking is a dryer, but there are is a communal drying facility somewhere onsite. In an effort to save a few bucks, the environment, and the strenuous task of hauling bags of wet laundry goodness-knows-where, we’ve been hanging our clothes out on the drying rack on the balcony. Now, the clothes don’t smell Bouncy fresh; rather, they barely smell like anything at all, and they are clean. Smelling of fresh florals doesn’t matter much anyway, since five minutes out the door, you’re damp from sweat and not noticing nor caring how greasy your skin is.  I’m breaking out in pimples on the left side of my face, dammit.
We don’t have much planned tomorrow (Tuesday) other than heading to the nearby Cabopino beach which costs 2 Euros return, payable to the resort shuttle bus driver. I’d also like to check out some of the sister resorts, of which there are four, since one apparently has a really cool playground that Dani should enjoy. She’s the only child I’ve seen using the playground here, and it’s so hot that her juicy butt sticks to the slide, so it’s not very fun at all. There’s also a shopping centre I want to visit, though my spending  urges haven’t been too great throughout this trip. Just having enough energy to see what we need to see and having full and content bellies at the end of the day is enough reward for me.
On Wednesday, we have a day trip to Gibraltar in the United Kingdom, for which I have a few reservations.  All over the news and as forewarned by the PR representative at orientation this morning, Spain and Britain continue a 300-year-old war over ownership of the Rock, and are slowing down border crossings with extremely long checks and waiting times. If driving, we were told to park vehicles on the Spanish side of the bridge and just walk over. We’re taking a guided tour, so I can only hope and pray we make it across in a seamless fashion for my sweet, impatient little Dani’s sake.
Thursday is our full-day excursion to Tangier, Morocco, for a tour through the markets, lunch and mint tea, and perhaps even a camel ride.  For both trips, we are being picked up at our hotel via air-conditioned coach (cue heavenly music), so we just have to sit back and enjoy the scenic ride. We booked both trips with Viator along with our previous excursions (see Paris post) because they had seemingly good reviews and are well-known.
For some off-topic news, we’ve had a breakthrough with Dani, who pulls at her diaper and says “yes” when we ask if she’s “poo-pooed.”  I like to always keep the bathroom door open when I go, don’t ask why (it’s just ’cause), and she likes to walk in and say “poo poo” and laugh  whenever I’m using the bowl.  When we return home (noooooo!!!) someone’s going to start potty training!
 Gosh, how I love this munchkin. Some of the locals fell in love with her when we passed by them in the street, and whenever there are other youngsters in the pool, they go up and talk to her and instantly become BFFs. Life in Spain is just amazing.
Wifi is limited here, so the next time I post might be a few days. Thank you for reading, wherever in the world you are!
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