So we weren't on the road as early as I hoped, like I said but we were most of the way through SC and Georgia is only 109 miles long - we crossed the Florida border around 11. We chose to skip the welcome center and free OJ to save a little time. Stopped in St. Augustine for lunch and a little outlet time - really wanted to find water shoes for the water park. Last year we did not enjoy them as much because that pavement is not easy on your feet!! The boys have some from two years ago that "worked" and it was a good thing because we only found them in men's sizes (ugly black ones at that). They were only $11 and if you bought a second pair, it was half off so Bob & I both got a pair. Mine will be handed off to Austin now though as they were really too big for me, they served their purpose though. I really wanted to take a side trip to the Beach in Daytona but the rest of the crew didn't want to stop so we marched on.
We finally arrived in Orlando - I had booked our first night through my Mousesavers membership in the Downtown Disney hotels - the price of the room wasn't terrible but when you add their resort fee and tax, I should have taken our room on property that night too - oh well, lesson learned... We stayed at this Best Western last year and really liked it - this year however, it wasn't what we remembered. It was clean & quiet though and that is the most important thing.
The boys were super anxious to head to Downtown Disney (as if I wasn't lol) so we drove over - there is a bus but we decided we'd rather have our own vehicle. We were lucky enough to find a parking place and headed in. We went down with the youth education series so I had to pick up our park tickets at guest services. Last year, Downtown was on the list and I didn't realize they weren't a pick up place this year. They were great about it though and in true Disney style, went above and beyond and got our tickets printed for us. While I waited for that, the boys went pin trading. They love it so much and I love that they will walk up to cast members and ask - many times it sparks conversations and they have chatted with people from all over the world.
After my tickets were in my hot little hands, we headed to Once Upon A Toy - so love that store!! Then Pin Traders - hoping the trading board was open but not this time. We had to sneak in to Ghiradelli's for the free chocolate, it was caramel!!! Then on to the new Lego store - talk about AMAZING!! The Buzz & Woody was still under construction but it wasn't later in the week, so I will post photos when I get there. It was dark so I chose to wait to take photos on our next trip over - I had a new camera and wasn't great with it at this point (not that I am now).
The boys have another passion, brand new since our last trip. The Vinylmation Craze has hit them hard. They wanted them last year and I told them no. We got home and I found a couple of them on clearance online, so I ordered them each one. Well, the order came and only one was there with an apology that there wasn't enough stock for the other one. Vinylmations run anywhere from $10 to $16 for the majority of them but they can go much higher. I got this one for $3.80 so it was a substantial savings. I had no idea what I was getting myself into with that simple little purchase. Shortly after that, we went into our local Disney Store and they were running a promo, buy 1 get 1 plus I had a 20% off coupon. The boys had their own money and I believe they each bought 4 of them for about $4.50 each. They loved them so much and they really do treat them like gold so I decided I'd keep watch on ebay and the Disney site and was able to stock up on them for Christmas gifts - one auction that I won included 5 of them for around $16 with free shipping - so they had quite a few to trade. They have a couple sets that they are trying to complete, we know it is unlikely to get all the ones they want but the hunt is the exciting part!! The Vinylmation trading is not as readily available as the pin trading so we were on the hunt for the stores with trading boxes - again, I will post photos later in my reports. We headed over to the Pleasure Island side to hit D Street though - what an awesome store!! The boys would have loved to be able to buy some of the display items lol
We were starving at this point so we headed back out to the Perkins outside the entrance to the Downtown Disney Hotels and had breakfast for dinner. They weren't very busy but we can't rave about the meal. Our server was great, she chatted with us for quite some time (again, not busy).. We headed back to the room to relax before the busy week ahead of us with no idea of the magic that was in store for us ;)