Returned Sunday to snow and cold! Yuck! So the trip...ahhhh!!!! We arrived last Wed. evening, flew Spirit and I was very satisfied even though they charge you to check bags (we didn't) and anything to eat or drink on the flight (no thanks). Caught the shuttle to Advantage car rental, waited about 30 min. to get our car, which I would suggest getting off the bus and heading straight for the counter, let someone else in your party get the bags. It's a very small office so it took longer than at most rental counters. Still, I got an amazing deal, and I wanted to keep my car as long as possible, so waiting was fine. We got a brand new Nissan Sentra, bare bones, not even cruise control, but again, cheap so I was happy. We drove to Lake Buena Vista on 528, heading for Comfort Inn. I turned into CrossRoads plaza by mistake, so we stopped and ate at Quiznos, yummy! Comfort Inn is the second light on 535, a right turn and then we found our hotel. The grounds are very nice, much nicer than the rooms. But, we paid $40/night so we were satisfied. The free breakfast was adequate, and the location to the parks was the best for the money. The bed was very comfy, great pillows, only complaint was the lack of water pressure.
Thursday morning we met my daughter's friend, a CM, who took us to Animal Kingdom, MGM, and finally Epcot. Disney CAN be done in a day, but we were exhausted and we had just been in January, so this was supposed to be a cleanup trip to do the things we missed earlier. Weather was amazing, and we had lunch at Flame Grill in Animal Kingdom, great chicken and fixings!
Friday we hit the outlet mall and loved the Disney Store for great souvies. From the mall we headed to the Gulf Coast to spend a day at Clearwater Beach. The weather was overcast and rainy until we hit Clearwater, and then God smiled on us and we had blue skies and sun the rest of the day. Friday night we stayed in Lakeland with relatives.
Saturday we shopped at Tiger Stadium for gifts to take home to those less fortunate (aka my hubby and two of our older kids who stayed home). Also had our best meal of the trip at Cracker Barrel.
Later in the day we headed back to return our car and stay our last night at LaQuinta Orlando Airport West. Hotel was fine for a pre-flight hotel. The bus driver was a gem as she took us back to Advantage when my son discovered he left something in our (already returned) rental car. LaQuinta airport shuttle runs once an hour, on the hour, so we were plenty early for our Sunday morning flight. Always love getting Krispy Kremes at the airport for breakfast. Our flight home was quick, and we were back in the land of cold and snow.
This was our kids' first visit to Animal Kingdom, and I think they have a new favorite park! It was also their first time on Rock 'n Roller Coaster, new favorite ride. Soarin' is our favorite attraction. Hope to return so my son can check out more of the educational stuff at Epcot, which he thought looked very cool. We thought he would really like the Backlot Tour at MGM but he really didn't care for it much. I also remembered Tough to be a Bug as much cuter, wish we would have done another ride on Everest and skipped the Bugs. We also LOVED Mission Space and Star Tours. I was afraid to do the orange team, but it was a blast!! I get car sick and dizzy very easily, and I had no problem whatsoever.
All in all, this was a squeaky tight budgeted trip and such fun to plan. I hunted down all the best deals, 3 of us for 4 nights and 5 days and we only spent about $800 (including airfare, car, hotel, and meals).