Monday, February 5, 2018

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village

This weekend the Hubs and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! I can't believe how quickly time has gone by; still feels like it was yesterday. Every year since we got married we spend our Anniversary at our favorite place Disney World. Last year we became Disney Vacation Club Members and although we do live a few hours away from the Disney Parks, it has been the most rewarding investment we have made.
This trip we stayed at the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village with Savannah view.


We arrived late on Thursday night, I think it was little passed midnight. As soon as I walked in the room I dropped everything and ran out to our balcony to see what I'd find. It was really dark so I couldn't really get any pictures, but you could see shadows of some of the animals walking around and you could hear them too. I giddy like a little girl and could not wait till morning. 

Since we arrived late and obviously were too excited to sleep, we decided to explore the resort and see what we would find. We asked the concierge if any of the restaurants were opened late and they mentioned that "The Mara" was opened until 1:30am. However it is located in the Jambo House about an 8 minute walk. The weather was really nice so we decided to take a walk to the other village. The Mara was only serving flat breads at that time, however they do have sandwiches, salads, fruits, drinks, novelty treats, and like a little bakery. Here's a picture of the dining hall.

We walked thru the beautiful lobbies of the Kidani Village and the Jambo House... I was mesmerized with the details that were put in to every piece of art and furniture.

                                    Here are some pictures I took of the lobbies and sitting areas.

Here are pictures of our room, it was so tastefully decorated.

I love how there's an accent tile border with animal prints.

The next morning we woke up at 6am and the first thing I did was look out themy balcony, and yes!!!! there were a few animals in sight, and of course, I ran back in the room and woke the Hubs up, I didn't want him to miss out on this experience. He wasn't too pleased, but he did get out of bed to see.

I was a bit bummed cause I absolutely love giraffes, however none of them hungout by our room. Maybe next time.

Since Animal Kingdom was offering Extra Magic Hours from 8:00am-9:00am and we've come to Disney atleast 7 times since Avatar's Flight of Passage opened and the lines have been 5 hours + long, so we thought if we get there super early we'd have a better chance of getting on the ride without having to wait the ridiculous amount of time in line. Sure enough, we arrived at the park around 7:30am and the line for the Resort Guests was insane!!!!! We managed to check in a by 8:00am and only had to wait 150 minutes (2.5 hours) I must tell was worth every second of the wait.

 We wanted to ride it again, but the line was at 300 minutes by the time we got off, so we said forget it! But if you haven't had a chance to ride the Flight of Passage, It is a MUST do!

After a full day at the parks, we returned to our resort to relax. We discovered that they offer a night time safari tour. It was pretty cool to watch the animals at night, even if it was thru the lights of the safari truck. Definitely something we want to try the next time.

                                 Had to take one last picture before leaving this amazing resort. 

If you've never visited the Animal Kingdom Resort you must definitely add it to your bucket list. 

Till our next adventure! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Eclipse Chasers: Total Solar Eclipse Road Trip to South Carolina

 It's been a looooooooonnnnnngggggg while since my last post. A lot has happened since then, we purchased a new home, I started a new job (3 years ago to be exact), we've traveled to quite few places, I finally got the Hubs on a BOAT, the nieces have grown into beautiful young ladies, we've lost some of our loved ones, gained a few new ones, and have had a few bumps along the way.

Since then we've been to many different places, I will start with the most recent trip and hopefully get around to sharing the other cool places we've visited.

The last few weeks everyone has been talking about the Total Solar Eclipse that is scheduled to happen on Monday, August 21st, 2017.  The last total solar eclipse was in 1979. One of our friends mentioned he was going to take a trip to South Carolina so he can experience this once in a lifetime experience. After discussing his plans, we did some research and the Hubs and I decided we were in.

Being that we live in Florida and it's approximately a 9 hour drive to South Carolina, we decided to make a road trip out of it. As we began to plan all of the South Carolina hotels were sold out, so INSANE.... so we decided to stay the night in Savannah, GA and then drive to South Carolina in the morning. 

I have been on a handful of road trips and have always wanted to stop at the state line to have our picture taken. Thankfully the driver (also one of the Hubs good friends) and who too loves me "Awe" he was a good sport and stopped at the state lines to take our picture.

"Welcome to Georgia"

Along the trip we learned that our friend, "D" had lived in Savannah a few years ago, and he showed us around. Since we were 6 in total, we decided to stay at a BNB that way we could hangout rather than everyone go to our separate rooms.

Here's a picture of the cute little place we stayed.

Then we decided to go explore Downtown Savannah. We had a drink at Rocks on the Roof Modern Lounge overlooking the Savannah River and the Talmadge Bridge, such a beautiful sight. 
The Georgia Queen Ferry pictured below

After our Margaritas and appetizers we decided to take a tour of the town. My husband and I always love taking the Double Decker Bus Tours and the Old Town Trolley Tours whenever we visit a new town. It's a great way to see places/things that you would miss if you just walked around. Plus we have had great tour guides who not only teach us the history of the town but are pretty fun too. We usually do the entire tour first and then hop off at the destination that we want to explore.

In Savannah they have 2 different Trolley Tours. They have the Old Town Trolley Tour and the Old Savannah Tours  We prefer the Old Town Trolley it's one we've experienced more and the tour guides have been amazing. The one thing I recommend is that you check their schedules as they vary city to city. In Savannah the last pick up time is at 5:00pm and last drop off is at 7:30pm where in other cities I've seen up to 10:00pm. Prices also vary from city to city. In Savannah I believe it was $29 for adults and $21 for children.


Here are some of the places we saw on the trolley tour...

Cotton Exchange

The Historic Philbrick-Eastman House that overlooks Chippewa Square

The Artillery Bar 

This building was pretty amazing, one of my favorites from the town. It's just so pretty. Although we didn't get a chance to check it out this trip, it is definitely on our next to grab a drink here.

Since the Hubs has reserved his spot for a new Tesla, 
a picture of the charging station was a must! 

River Street Market Place it's a cute little open air market on the river.
We didn't get to visit the market place as we spent most of our time listening to the live music and standing in line at Leopold's. Maybe next time. 

We had dinner at B& D Burgers (They say it's the best burgers in Savannah) I've actually had better. I've always been a picky eater, but since the beginning of the year, I decided that I would try out new cuisines and new places. 

So at this place I decided that I wanted to try the Fried Green Tomatoes and the Alligator Fritters. Well I wasn't a big fan of either, in my opinion tomatoes shouldn't be fried, and the alligator fritters are very textured, well I kinda pictured myself chewing on an alligator tail with the bumps and all. Too textury for me. I did build my own burger, regular angus burger with cheese and bacon, ketchup only.  

Fried Green Tomatoes

Alligator Fritters

However the alligator over the bar and hanging in the staircase was pretty cool.

Overall if I had to rate this place and the service I'd give it 3.5 stars. Our waitress was very slow, returned to our table 3 times to ask for our drinks, and yet never brought them to us. Dropped one of the meals and took 15 minutes to bring out another.
Byrd's Famous Cookies since 1924 "May Your Cookie Jar Never Be Empty" I totally loved this place. I'm a lover of all cookies. They have a cute little station where you try their different flavors of cookies, they even had one flavor called "JalapeƱo Cheddar"- Caliente!! My favorite were the Salted Caramel and the Almond Shortbread cookies. Here's their website Byrd's Famous Cookies  in case you're tempted to try them. 

We found a Starbucks where we stopped for a coffee break, and I saw that in honor of the Eclipse they had "A Once in A Lifetime Eclipse Frappuccino" so I asked the Barista about this amazing frappuccino that I almost ordered...he said, oh, it's nothing special, just the vanilla bean frapppuccino with a shot of espresso." Really Dude, you just ruined my moment.
 Leopold's Ice Cream (Just celebrated it's 98th year in business) This place had a huge line in front of it that wrapped around to the end of the street and thought wow, we must really try this place. This place is very quaint and has pictures of the three brothers who originally opened this shop. You can read more on the history of Leopold's Ice Cream shop here.

Where we live in Hollywood, FL there's an ice cream shop called Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor it's actually located in Dania Beach, just minutes north of Hollywood. The lines too are long, but so worth the wait cause they're ice cream is amazing...Anywho, back to Leopold"s, the line moved pretty fast, I'd say we were in line approximately 25 minutes or so.  I ordered the butter pecan ice cream and the hubs had a vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the cookie but it was pretty good.  After our ice cream treat we went back to our BNB to rest for our drive to South Carolina in the morning. Nighty Night Savannah. 

Today is Monday, August 21. 2017 and we're headed to South Carolina from our overnight stay in Savannah, GA to see the Solar Eclipse in it's totality. I remember as a kid camping out in my front yard one night to watch a Lunar Eclipse unfortunately sleep won and I missed out on it. So this time, I was beyond excited. You can just imagine.

    Here's our picture at the Georgia/South Carolina State Line. (Thank you D.)
 Lake Marion, Santee, SC

Well originally we had planned to drive to Columbia SC but after talking it over since we wanted to drive back to Florida after the Eclipse we decided to stop at one of the National Parks in the area. As we were arriving at Santee State Park the traffic to the entrance was backed up so we made a u-turn due to our concern of not being able to exit the park once it was all over.
So we ended up at Lake Marion in Santee, SC. 

The lake was absolutely beautiful, so quiet, peaceful, not that many people and the clouds were slowly moving away, giving us the perfect spot to experience the eclipse.

 Although it was so hot, and when the sun hit your skin was a bit painful.
Thankfully there were many trees to sit under to stay away from the sun, while we waited.

This guy in his paraglider was going to have a spectacular view. I had never seen one of these.

And then it begins.... Here are the pictures I was able to get of the eclipse. 

I must tell you, I knew it was going to be pretty cool, but didn't know how cool it was really was going to be. It is definitely a moment that I will never forget. No matter how much traffic we were in or the 12.5 hours it took us to get back, or the fact that I got 2.5 hours of sleep to get up and make it to work. 

Definitely all worth it. Looking forward to the next one in 2024.