will's 20th bday trip
12.26.2008 - 01.02.2009
When I asked Will what he wanted to do for his 20th birthday, he said he wanted to spend it at DisneyWorld. So, we made plans to spend New Years Eve and Day there (his bday is Jan. 1). What he didn't know, was that I also made arrangements for us to go back to the Bahamas. He had mentioned in a text that it would be great to do that, but I played it off as something we couldn't do. On the way down to Florida, I forwarded his text back to him with the reply "well, if you really want to go, ok" - he was very surprised and I was glad that I pulled it off
We left the day after Christmas and made the long drive back down to Port Everglades, FL. We stayed at some hotel, I can't remember where right now, sad b/c it's only been 8 months, but oh well. Had to be at the port around 5am to check in for the Discovery Cruise to Grand Bahama Island. It's called a "cruise," but it's really a down-and-back day trip that also offers the choice of splitting your sailing dates so it can be transport to a vacation in the Bahamas. We took this ship back in August too when we visited Grand Bahama Island for a week so we knew what to expect. It's fairly run-down and unspectacular, but it's reliable transportation that doesn't run the risk of death at 30,000 feet so it works for me!
Here are pictures of sunrise at port while we were waiting to sail, pics around the ship, ruffians who had to spend 4 hours on deck because they didn't book a "superior" special cabin like we did, our spacious lovely cabin, will's activity for the whole journey, and arriving at the port in the Bahamas.
Grand Bahama Island - Pelican Bay Hotel:
Last time, we rented a car and the company picked us up from port. But this time, we were only going to be staying at our hotel, the Pelican Bay, since it was in walking distance of everywhere we planned to go, so we got a cab. The hotel was very nice and was literally right next door to Port Lucaya and all the shops, restaurants, etc. The suite was great and had a balcony with a view of the infinity pool and the bay. Here are some pictures of the room, the grounds, and us enjoying it all.
One day I took the boat taxi around the bay to the resort at Taino Beach. It was very nice and not too crowded. The weather was great and I enjoyed a lovey veggie burger at the restaurant before heading back. The hotel had a grotto bar and huge pool too. Will decided to stay at the hotel since we had brought the xbox with us and he wanted to get online and play with some of his friends. Here are some pics from the beach:
Port Lucaya Marketplace:
We had discovered Port Lucaya when we were here in August and really enjoyed spending time here. So most days on this trip we went there for lunch, to shop, and always went for dinner and to hang out. Our favorite place is Shenanigan's Pub and we would usually spend a few hours there. The bartender remembered us from August which was nice. These pictures show some of the places we visited, and some of the christmas decorations they had up.
All too soon, it was time to leave the Bahamas and head for DisneyWorld. I was excited about getting to Disney, but the weather and atmosphere at Lucaya were so nice and refreshing that I hated to leave. We took the Discovery ship back to Port Everglades, grabbed our car, and took off for Orlando. Unfortunately, there was a delay between docking in port and them actually letting us off the ship, so we didn't get started for Orlando until around 10pm. We were really worn out and had to pull over at a rest stop for a little bit on the way, so it was 3am before we actually arrived at our hotel.
Hilton Resort at Downtown Disney:
Luckily this hotel is counted as a Disney hotel so we get extra hours and guaranteed entry (which I definitely needed on New Year's Eve!) The hotel was very nice and had a great view, but I missed the Disney decorations and atmosphere.
DisneyWorld ~ Magic Kingdom:
We slept late on New Year's Eve and then I went over to Magic Kingdom that afternoon. Will wasn't feeling well, so decided to stay at the hotel. I was a little leery of going to the park on my own, especially on New Year's Eve, but it turned out to be one of the best days I've ever had at Disney! It was nice to just do what I wanted, when I wanted, without having to accommodate other people When the bus came to take us from the hotel, the driver said the park was closed because at capacity. We told them our hotel had guaranteed entry so they said they'd give it shot and when we got there, they waved us in with no problems, thank goodness! The decorations in the park were gorgeous, especially the castle. The crowds were bearable and everyone was in such a festive mood. Here are Magic Kingdom pics:
DisneyWorld ~ Epcot & Boardwalk:
The next day I went to Epcot, again by myself, and again had a great time! I rode my favorite rides, walked around the World Showcase and ate lunch at Morocco (as usual!) That evening, I kept our reservation at Spoodles, wondering how it would be to eat dinner there alone. I took the walkway from Epcot's International Gateway to the Boardwalk and bought a magazine from their gift shop to give me something to do while I was waiting on my order. The waitress was super nice and felt bad about Will missing out on his own bday dinner so she sent him a bday cupcake and the hostess sent him a happy birthday button with his name on it. I had a blue glowtini and it was great. They made me a potato gnocchi/veggie/marinara dish that was delicious. So again, another great solo experience.
Went back to Epcot after dinner and called Will - he finally felt good enough to come to the park. Since it was his birthday, he got in for free. And even though it was about 8pm before he got there, it was extra evening hours that night so they were open til midnight. We had a great time walking around the world and doing our usual stuff. All in all, a wonderful day. Here are the Epcot pics:
Then we drove home and back to reality - again
~ The END