New places and lots of faces… Disney World at Spring Break

A couple of weeks ago, I packed up the fam and hopped on a plane to Orlando. It was Spring Break which meant it was time to go back to Disney! Now, don’t think Spring Break is the perfect time to visit the parks. It is far from perfect with the large crowds and unpredictable weather but sometimes life and responsibilities dictate when we can and can’t vacation. And yes, second most crowded time period to visit Disney — Christmas through New Year’s wins that honor — but fun can still be had by all.

I split my stay with several nights at the newest villa section of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge resort, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins. It was a beautiful studio room with a walk-in shower and great views of the main feature pool at the resort including the Fire Rock Geyser area.

Wilderness Lodge pool and Fire Rock Geyser

Fire Rock is erupting just past the pool

I loved these new rooms and can’t wait to stay there again in the future. The last few nights of my visit were at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Jambo House. These are rooms that were converted from original ‘regular’ rooms into villas and I enjoyed a studio there as well with a savanna view. Waking up and seeing the animals was such fun!

Good morning from the savanna!

Do you see the giraffe hiding in the trees?

While the rooms and resorts were fantastic, I had to get into the parks! Let’s see, two rounds of Avatar: Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom (OMG, love it!), a trip down a mystical river on the Na’vi River Journey, a beautiful nighttime spiritual journey with Rivers of Light, and a Yeti trying to chase me down a mountain (wait… what?) Animal Kingdom park is always filled with such interesting experiences. Kilimanjaro Safaris was amazing for one of our ‘two-week’ journeys. We saw so many animals and had giraffes coming up to our safari truck, I mean like right beside us! Our driver had to call for back up to ‘shoo’ the giraffes on their merry way.

Giraffes on safari

Wait… there’s a height requirement on this ride?

Epcot was lovely and filled with delightful scents throughout from the Flower and Garden Festival. I LOVE flowers so this is one of my favorite times to visit so I can look at all of the beautiful topiaries and plants around the park. The butterfly garden is a highlight for me as well. There were so many butterflies flitting about and many more emerging from their chrysalises!

Butterflies

Butterflies, butterflies, how many do you see?

Magic Kingdom was a magical kingdom, as always! Despite being soaked by one of those lovely Florida downpours on the way to dinner, Be Our Guest was still a delish meal. I’m super disappointed that the restaurant is changing to a two-credit meal in late July (and with a funky menu) so this is likely one of my last times there. Fall clients, don’t be surprised when it isn’t on your suggestion list from me as we prepare for dining reservations.

The grey stuff

The grey stuff was divine and so was dining in the spooky ‘West Wing’!

Hollywood Studios is well… in the middle of a transformation. With Toy Story Land opening on June 30th and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming sometime in 2019 (no, there is no date that has been announced), the park has a lot of construction going on. I will say that as they work toward wrapping these projects, there are some new spaces showing up in the park that are welcome additions. Baseline Tap House is a fab place for a quick drink, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and a snack before dinner. The outdoor seating is a great place to relax and people watch while you enjoy a nice craft beer or cider. I loved finally meeting Star-Lord and Groot, a must-do for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy!

Star-Lord and Groot

Yes, you are Groot. And a cute little Groot too!

I also stopped by Typhoon Lagoon for some laps around the lazy river and a nice relaxing day in a comfy lounge chair. No wave pool for me this time but I’ve got some time coming up this summer to brave the waves! Disney Springs was quite busy with holiday weekend visitors but we managed to have a blast (literally) going to Mustafar on a secret mission as a Rebel in disguise as a Stormtrooper at The Void. Battling Darth Vader was a bit intense, just like the heat from the lava. Craziness and definitely on my list for next time too. After that battle, we needed a sweet treat to bring us back to Earth and put the finishing touch on our trip. So I leave this beautiful little bunny cake for you, as the end to my blog post. Happy Spring!

Amorette's bunny cake

Amorette’s Patisserie went above and beyond on this precious little bunny cake! These are only about three inches tall!

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A WONDERful cruise to the Southern Caribbean

Disney Cruises are one of my favorite things and my recent Southern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Wonder certainly didn’t disappoint! Seven nights sailing the Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico with stops at the islands of Antigua, Saint Lucia, Curacao, and Aruba resulted in my best cruise experience yet and will be hard to beat. White sand beaches, seashells galore, crystal blue waters, a lush rain forest, even cacti! I’ll hit the highlights as I fondly look back on the new memories I made during this trip.

The cruise began in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Puerto Rico? Wasn’t the country demolished by Hurricane Maria? Yes, they definitely have had an unfair share of destruction and hardship as a result of Maria last fall. Yes, there is a large portion of the country that is still reeling from the affects of the storm. San Juan itself is recovering and open for business. We had zero power, water, communications, comfort issues, etc. during our stay. Taxis were running, restaurants and hotels open, airport operational, you name it. The countries that were devastated by the hurricanes last fall need tourism to return to sustain their livelihoods so it is important for all of us to get down there and help the residents rebuild their lives.

Back to San Juan. Lovely place. Lots of beautiful architecture, sunshine, and smiling people. I would gladly return to explore more of the city and outlying areas in the future. But alas, the Disney Wonder was calling. The ship set sail late into the evening and we were on our way to Antigua. My oh my, Antigua. That’s somewhere else I’d happily return. My activity for the day was an excursion to the western coast of the island to Castaway’s Beach Restaurant. The restaurant fronted an amazing beach where we were able to relax and play, only breaking for lunch, until time to return to the ship. So, this beach. Wow. Crystal blue water, white sand, more seashells than you could ever dream of collecting… pure beach fantasy. I thought the beaches in the Turks and Caicos were pretty but man, they have a definite contender in Antigua.

Antigua

It was almost painful to pack up and leave that beach but we had to keep moving. The next port was Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is shockingly green. We’re talking lush, green rain forest as far as the eye could see. I was set to venture into a rain forest to enjoy an aerial tram tour up to the top of the forest. Not sure what to expect, I was overwhelmed by the peacefulness of the forest ride. The cool air with a light breeze, soft sounds of the trees, and occasional squeal of a zip-liner, made for a delightful journey. The height we achieved on the tram was astounding and being able to look out across the forest to the gigantic ferns and strangler ficus trees, waterfalls, and streams blew my mind. It felt like we were at the top of the world, and what a beautiful world that was.

Rain forest in Saint Lucia

After leaving Saint Lucia, we had a day of rest as the ship traveled on to our next port. Days at sea on a cruise can be filled to the brim with activities or turn into days where you lazily hang out at the pool and watch movies on the funnel’s screen. Of course, we had to catch a few movies on the big screen in the Buena Vista Theater (Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi) plus Coco on the bigger screen in the Walt Disney Theater. There were many movies viewed on the pool deck’s funnel screen though, that’s for sure. While my family snacked on ice cream (ice cream is endless and so, so good on the Disney ships), I setup GototheMouse’s portable office on the pool deck and worked away into the evenings. It is super handy to be able to pack up and work from wherever I need to, although admittedly a little more movie time would have been fun.

The following day, we awoke in Curacao. Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island and that was easy to detect based on the distinct building coloring and architecture. What a beautiful island! This was the first time Disney had ever sailed, on any ship, to Curacao and the local tourism officials were treated to a celebration onboard to commemorate the milestone. We spent the day at the Sunscape Curacao resort and, while I likely wouldn’t return there for a future stay, it was nice to enjoy their infinity pool and visit a new (to me) resort. The port in Curacao was very modern and many vendors selling non-“Made In China” wares, so that was refreshing. A short proximity from the pier was a Starbucks, so another ‘You are Here’ mug was added to my collection. (I love those things!)

Curacao

Next up was Aruba. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are known as the ‘ABC Islands‘ and although we didn’t stop at Bonaire, I would love to visit that one too to see how different it is from Curacao and Aruba. Aruba is very ecologically interesting. It has natural bridges formed from pounding surf, cacti, Divi Divi trees, clear blue water, and white sand. The island group is very close to Venezuela in South America, for a point of geographic reference. Aruba is also a Dutch island and very modern. We spent the day at a private island on the West Coast of Aruba called De Palm Island.  This island is comprised of an all-inclusive day experience (no lodging) with water slides, snorkeling, beaches, banana boats, zip-lining, and so much more. I enjoyed snorkeling with huge schools of the most beautiful tropical fish, picking up even more seashells, watching a giant iguana and several smaller iguanas sun themselves, and had a tasty lunch. This was my favorite excursion with the beach in Antigua being a very close second. With a view like the one below, who would complain?

De Palm Island, Aruba

After a late departure from Aruba, we enjoyed another day at sea before returning to San Juan to fly home. Yes, more movies and ice cream plus some shopping and pin trading with the ship’s officers. Pin trading is huge on the Disney ships, just as it is in the theme parks — maybe even more so.

I can’t wait to be back onboard the Wonder and booked my next cruise for 2019. Where will I sail to next? Stay tuned and you’ll find out! In the meantime, there are plenty of other trips in the works for 2018 that I’ll be sharing throughout the year. Looking back at my blog, I missed posting about a wonderful getaway to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina over Thanksgiving and a quick trip to Washington DC to enjoy “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. It looks like I’ve been slacking but I’ll do better in 2018. I keep my bags packed… do you?

 

 

 

Return to Punta Cana

I was invited to the Dominican Republic again this year for a Top Agent Retreat… who would decline a trip to an island paradise? The island had recently been hit by Hurricane Maria but the only visible damage to the area that we were in was some downed trees and stripped foliage. The ocean was glistening and the pools sparkling; it was time for some fun!

This year’s trip took the hubs and I to the Riu Palace Bavaro and I’m not going to lie, not a big Riu fan. The things we enjoyed most about this resort were the pool with its tile loungers and the Costa Caribe drinks. Gratefully, the Costa Caribe’s were plentiful and the pool was a delight.

Riu Palace Bavaro poolCosta Caribe drink

While in Punta Cana, we had the pleasure of touring other resorts. These are referred to as site inspections in travel agent lingo. What does that really mean? Up and at ’em early, zipping from resort to resort, viewing various room types, meeting the staff, checking out the restaurants, pools, and other amenities, etc. If anyone ever steals my phone, they’ll likely wonder why I have so many pictures of the inside of hotel rooms, bathrooms, and mini-fridges.

The other places we visited were the Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana and I totally would’ve enjoyed spending the trip there. With a clean design and not an over-the-top kid feel, I would definitely stay here on a future trip. Their waterpark area was such a fun amenity for resort guests! For a mere $4k/night, you could even stay in Spongebob’s house!Spongebob's House

Aqua Nick waterpark

Next up was Chic Punta Cana, an adults only resort. Here you can stay in a six-bedroom Mansion villa for about that same $4k/night if a pineapple under the sea wasn’t your cup of tea. Not looking to blow the budget? The other room categories are much more affordable and some even feature the swim-out rooms with infinity pools!

Chic Punta Cana

Next up was Royalton Punta Cana, which we visited last year, but is always a beauty. As far as impressive views from the lobby, this one is right up there.

Royalton Punta Cana

There were two other Riu resorts on our list to tour, Riu Bambu for families and Riu Republica for adults only. Riu Bambu is one of the five resorts that was in our resort’s overall complex – with Riu Naioba, Riu Macao, and Riu Palace Punta Cana. Riu Bambu is a very pretty resort and I’d have preferred to stay there over ours. The layout and vibe here was better, newer decor, nice central restaurant area, and a cluster of pools close by.

Riu Bambu

Riu Republica had a nice clean look but definitely not my taste. There was more of a party vibe here, especially at the pools, and this resort will cater to spring breakers in 2018. Great for that age group, not so much for mine. 🙂

Riu Republica

Last up for this trip was Excellence El Carmen. This is also an adult only property and you could feel the step up in quality here. The rooms were much bigger and OMG, this honeymoon room had a private balcony with a swim-up, its own small pool, and jacuzzi tub.

Beachfront room view

Private balcony with swim-up

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Private pool, jacuzzi tub, and lounge bed

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

I’ll leave you with the recipe for the Costa Caribe, in case you’re interested. I highly recommend these and can’t wait for a return to the DR to try them again!

Until next time!

Amber

Costa Caribe

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights #27 (#hhn27)

Howdy!  It’s time for another guest blog post — this time from the Hubs.  Enjoy!

Being a lifelong lover of the macabre, I’ve always wanted to take Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights for a spin, but it’s never been in the cards. That changed this year, when a surprise birthday trip included not only our daughter, but our teenage niece — who, as it so happens, is a big fan of horror movies. (By her own admission, the only things she can’t handle are creepy twins and scary clowns. That’s called “foreshadowing.”) So, as the rest of the group headed to Disney Springs for some restaurants and shopping, Niece (not her actual name) and I headed to #HHN27 for some pants-ruining fun.

First off, the map:

#hhn27 map

The map for Halloween Horror Nights #27

The little red letters are the haunted houses (there were nine altogether: American Horror Story, The Shining, The Fallen, Dead Waters, The Horrors of Blumhouse, Hive, Scarecrow: The Reaping, Ash vs Evil Dead, and Saw), while the yellow sections are Scare Zones — themed areas where performers roam free to pounce on you as you walk by. Upon entering the park, the very first thing we saw in the very first Scare Zone was the creepy ghost twins from The Shining, standing there being all creepy. As a direct result, we decided to start with some rides. So, proceeding through the nonexistent line, we hopped straight onto Transformers. Personally, I find Universal’s rides repetitive — it’s like the pitch for every ride since The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man has consisted of, “Hey, remember Spider-Man? It’s like that, except with {insert hot intellectual property here}!”

But I digress. Halloween Horror Nights isn’t about the rides; it’s about the scares. (As a matter of fact, several attractions are closed during the event since their queues are repurposed for the haunted houses.) It was well time for a haunted house, and, with me being a huge Evil Dead devotee for more years than I care to admit, Ash vs Evil Dead was the logical place to start. And since it’s horrific in a haha sort of way, it couldn’t be so bad for Niece, right?

It scared the absolute bejeezus out of her.

To calm her still-pounding heart, I decided it was Harry Potter time. Now, referring back to the map above, Ash vs Evil Dead is at the bottom center, while Harry Potter is at the top right. If you’ll notice, the walkway between the two is in no way, shape, or form yellow. (This will be a very important factor in my upcoming defense trial.) As we headed that way, however, Niece froze in her tracks. When I asked what was wrong, she said simply, “That’s a clown.”

As it turns out, that was a massive understatement. It was not a clown. It was a plethora of clowns. Scary ones. With chainsaws.

We ducked into a Simpsons-themed food court and made our way along its entire length to an exit at the opposite end. As we peeked out in an attempt to determine whether we’d managed to circumvent the murderous clowns, I noticed a teenage girl sitting at a nearby table. No food, just sitting. Eyes wide, she said, “You can’t go out there. THEY CHASE YOU.”

The long route to Harry Potter it was, then! Backtracking through the restaurant, we exited the door through which we’d entered, taking precisely zero notice of the support column right outside said door. Two steps later, a theretofore unseen clown lunged out from behind that column and brap-brapped his — quite realistic, I might add — chainsaw right in Niece’s face. Until that moment, I never knew it was possible to launch scream-powered tears out of one’s eyeballs with such astounding velocity.

 

We did eventually make it to Harry Potter via the long way around, but any further haunted houses were to be solo affairs while Niece waited it out in a no-scare zone (the performers don’t follow you into shops or restaurants). While, as I mentioned before, the size of my Evil Dead fandom is only surpassed by the ego of one Ashley J. Williams, if asked to pick a Best of Show I’d have a hard time choosing between that and The Shining — both were extremely well done experiences, and really managed to capture the essence of their respective properties.

So, would I do it again? In an elevated heartbeat I would! I’d just do so knowing that, when Universal says Halloween Horror Nights is too intense for most guests, they sort of mean it.

A conference in Virginia Beach…

My latest adventure took me to Virginia Beach, to accompany the hubs to a work conference.  I can only recall being in Virginia Beach twice in my life, once at least fifteen years ago for a concert that got cancelled (boo!) and then back in middle school on a field trip.  We don’t live terribly far from the area but it has never been on my short list to visit.

Arriving at the beach, it was what I was expecting but not what I’m used to for a beach vacation.  I prefer quiet, family-oriented beaches with sand dunes, seashells, and very little commercialism so I struck out on all counts here.  I won’t lie, I wouldn’t visit the area again to hang out at the ocean.  However, this trip wasn’t focused on the water so we entertained ourselves at the pool area of the hotel (Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront), at the always delicious Duck Donuts around the corner, and at the conference activities.  We had a free afternoon that we planned to spend at the nearby aquarium but, the rest of the greater Virginia Beach area got the the same idea, so we bailed.

A speaker at the conference had mentioned the Military Aviation Museum in nearby Pungo, so we changed course and headed there.  Luckily, the museum was a short drive past the aquarium, so we were already going in the right direction.  Bombing out on a place that looked appealing for lunch near the hotel, we stopped in at Firebrew Bar and Grill on the way to the museum.  How delish!  Being a Monday at lunchtime, we had the restaurant to ourselves and dined on yummy pierogies, ahi tuna tacos, flatbreads, and pizzas.  The day was looking up!

After stuffing ourselves at lunch, we continued on to Pungo.  The bucolic fields and controlled retail environments made for a great experience on the drive.  Arriving at the museum, we were pleased to find that it wasn’t crowded.  Entering the main exhibit building, the staff gave us a warm welcome and intro to the facility with an overview of the areas to visit.  We saw working aircraft from World War II from the Army and Navy, various German vehicles, an Amphicar, and a real German Enigma machine.  Had we a little more time, we would’ve gone on the tour to visit the additional hangars that featured World War I replica and German aircraft.  If you visit anywhere in the greater Virginia Beach area and are an aviation or history fan, you need to make time to stop here!

Another evening took us to One Fish, Two Fish for dinner and we enjoyed a fantastic meal.  The restaurant is situated in a marina and offers local ingredients and stellar service.  Another place to add to the list.

So, yeah, not a fan of Virginia Beach’s oceanfront but I think the surrounding area has potential for a future visit.  I hear Sandbridge Beach is nice so maybe that would be a good home base to stay and then pop in to some of the other places we enjoyed and find some new fun at First Landing State Park or the Cape Henry Lighthouses.

Where will I go next…?

Ahi tuna tacos at Firebrews Military Aviation MuseumMilitary Aviation Museum

Visiting Disney to enjoy new experiences

Hello all! Amber here. In late July, the kid and I visited Walt Disney World on a mission to try as many new things as possible, in a super short timeframe. Did we succeed? YES! I’m going to turn it over to the kid to report in with the things we tried and her take as a tween.  Here we go!!

Hi! I’m Hailey and today I am going to tell you about all the new things we tried on this past trip. First things first flying, in the middle of summer, and in the afternoon is just asking for a disaster! We had to sit in the airport until about two hours after our original flight time, because of the weather in Orlando. But now to the more important stuff.

Our first park day was at Animal Kingdom. We had so much fun in Pandora, and both the rides were amazing! I would recommend riding Na’vi River Journey, it’s worth it after waiting in the line or using a FastPass for the ride. The food at the Satu’li Canteen was very good. I would recommend the quinoa salad with the black bean vinaigrette, I really enjoyed that. The veggie curry pods I didn’t enjoy as much as the salad, I’m pretty sure that the curry, and the overall texture, was my problem. But if you are a fan of curry and like steamed buns, you would probably like the pods much better than me. If you eat at the Satu’li Canteen you HAVE to try the blueberry cream cheese mousse, it was AMAZING! I think that while it took a long time to wait to ride Na’vi River Journey it would be a lot more worthwhile to save your FastPass for Flight of Passage, if you have any hope of riding it in a fair amount of time. But if traveling to Pandora with younger children, or children who are afraid of thrill rides or heights, it would be of more use to use your FastPass on the Na’vi River Journey ride.

If you like thrill rides or Soarin’, but more action packed, than this is the ride for you! Flight of Passage was an amazing ride! It was a lot less jerky than I thought it would be. It was a nice way to cool off in the hot afternoon. I would recommend Flight of Passage for kids my age, early teens, teens, or adventurous kids who are tall enough, like Soarin’ and are not afraid of heights. While you aren’t off the ground, it simulates you being thousands of feet up.

The Caring for Giants tour was a wonderful tour. I would recommend the Caring for Giants tour for mature eight year olds to nine or ten year olds and up. It was a truly amazing experience, getting to see elephants, just going about their business, kicking up sand to protect them from the sun, living in their natural habitats. It was an fantastic tour.

At Tusker House the buffet was delicious, and extremely vegetarian, which was very good for me and my mom! I think there is absolutely no need to go there for breakfast, when the food served for dinner is delicious. Now that the characters, Daisy, Mickey, Goofy, and Donald, as safari versions, come visit your table with all meals you don’t have to go there for breakfast to see them, you can see them all the time!

For the Rivers of Light show or package, I would recommend arriving around 35-45 minutes before the show starts, in order to get a good seat. I would recommend trying to get a seat in the first row of normal seats, for the best view. I wouldn’t recommend giving your child a freshly refilled bubble wand when every one is all clumped up in one spot, no one likes to be sticky or have bubbles in their Starbucks.

Rivers of Light was a fantastic show! It didn’t need to have fireworks to be an amazing show! It was very nice I enjoyed the projections onto the screen of water, they were beautiful. Also, if you are visiting Animal Kingdom in the night you must visit Pandora! Everything starts glowing and it is beautiful! Just make sure to stay hydrated whether you are visiting Africa or a guest among the sights of the world of Pandora.

I definitely recommend the Amorette’s cake decorating class in Disney Springs for mature nine to ten year olds (and up) who have a passion for baking. For me, as a twelve year old, who loves to bake, I really, really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot about cake decorating. I would definitely try out any of their new cake decorating classes!

In Epcot, I would recommend the Frozen Ever After ride to fans of Frozen and really anyone. But I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a Frozen ride to be so much like Splash Mountain! It was a great ride for cooling off. I also really enjoyed the Behind the Seeds tour, which is where you get to learn more behind the scenes information about The Land, I think it is more geared towards mature nine or ten year olds and up. I think it was a really neat tour and I learned a lot about the plants and fish in The Land.

On the way to Magic Kingdom from Epcot, we tried out the new Express Transportation service. It was very handy, being on a tight schedule, as long as you are there on the dot and ready to board the bus, or else you have to wait a half a hour for the next bus to arrive. It didn’t take nearly as long as the regular bus service, but that’s in the name right? Anyway, I would definitely recommend using the Express Transportation if you are on a tight schedule and park hopping, so you don’t miss your Be Our Guest reservations.

I really enjoyed Tony’s for dinner in Magic Kingdom, and I recommend it for anyone who likes pizza, pasta, and anything Italian of course! I also definitely would recommend the caprese salad there, it is amazing! I also would recommend the Happily Ever After dessert party, there are lots of different sweets there for you to enjoy, and they are wonderful! I really liked the cookies and cream mousse, it was delicious.

The Happily Ever After show was a spectacular show, with fireworks and projections onto Cinderella’s Castle. I think to get the full experience, you have to see the castle, not just the fireworks. I really enjoyed this past trip with my mom, we have tried lots and lots of new things, with a few familiar things among them.

In the future, look for more trip reports from me!

~Hailey

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Desserts at the Happily Ever After dessert party

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This is a Winter Melon!

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Cake decorating at Amorette’s in Disney Springs

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Safari Daisy at Tusker House

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Caring for Giants Elephant Tour

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Lunch at Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom

 

 

Memorial Day in Mexico!

Hola! The end of school means hitting the road (or skies) for another adventure! This year, the fam decided on Cancun, Mexico for a little Yucatan fun! Our visit to Cancun was largely spent in the amazing pools of our resort, Dreams Playa Mujeres Resort, just north of Cancun. From our balcony, you could look across the Caribbean Sea to catch a glimpse of Isla Mujeres in the distance. Such a beautiful place, let me recount the ways…

#1:  All-inclusive resort goodness… Dreams Playa Mujeres is part of the AM Resort family, like Dreams Punta Cana that I visited last fall.  These are family-oriented, all-inclusive resorts that offer as much (or as little) as you care to enjoy during your vacation.  In our case, we were going for ‘as little as possible’ in terms of activity level and we were not disappointed!  With two infinity pools, a lazy river, and waterslides plus a gorgeous beach, we had plenty to ‘not do.’  Each day started off with no alarm clock ringing, room service for breakfast, then hours by/in the pool being served fruity beverages. When I wasn’t in the pool, I was enjoying a Bali bed near the pool with said fruity drink.

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A look toward “our pool” and the Bali beds that are napping perfection

After a day in the pool, we would clean up for dinner and enjoy after dinner cocktails and desserts at the Preferred Club lounge.  (Preferred Club is the Dreams resort version of club level.)

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Cocktails anyone? I highly recommend the kiwi one!

The resort was in the off-season so we felt like we often had the place to ourselves.  That was such a fantastic change from our typical vacation style.  No plans, no crowds, all food and drink included… super luxurious and a great change of pace.  Our room didn’t disappoint either with modern furnishings (it is a new resort, just opened in late November 2016) and a laid-back feel.

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We did decide to do an excursion to Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres one day… Isla Contoy is essentially a deserted island with a limited number of guests (200) per day allowed to visit.  A friendly stingray played in the water with us during our morning and the fam enjoyed climbing up a small tower to drink in the view of the island.

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And we shall name him ‘silky’.

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Isla Contoy — a view from the top

All-in-all, we had a great vacation that was filled with lovely weather, lots of relaxation, and family togetherness.  Until next time, good night to Playa Mujeres!

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