The Romagnolo Family

The Romagnolo Family

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Our Epic Summer Road Trip, Part 1

     One of the MANY things that I love about being a teacher and working a gazillion hours during the school year is SUMMER!!  I was especially ready for this summer.  This mama was exhausted and ready to redeem some much needed time with my girls.  We decided to do an Epic Summer Road Trip this summer.  We ended up being home only two weeks out of the summer.  We had a small "prelude" of a road trip to Tennessee in early June.  We got to visit with a group of ladies that have become very precious to me over the past two years and then stay with some very dear friends in Nashville for many days.  We then came home and got ready for THE road trip.  We left Texas June 24th and we didn't come home until August 1st.  This summer, I wanted to start and end our road trip at our Happy Place.  You guessed it...Disney World!  First, we made a stop in Tampa/St. Pete to visit family and friends.  I always love going back to Tampa and catching up with my friends and family that know me better than anyone and still love me!  πŸ˜˜  We had a pretty packed schedule, but we still made time for the beach.


     We left Tampa/St. Pete on June 29th to head to Disney.  At first, our plan was just to head over to our resort in the late afternoon and just take our time.  As we got closer to the trip, I realized that we would only be 2 hours away from Disney.  Pandora had just opened earlier in the summer at the end of May.  We could just get up early and head over to get to the park at opening time.  That's what we did!  We got to Animal Kingdom at around 7:am.  The parked opened at 8:am that day.  We were able to get in line for Pandora and were headed to the Flight of Passage at 7:43am.  Woo-hoo!  Pandora was BEAUTIFUL!  Flight of Passage is also probably one of my favorite rides now.

This is always one of my favorite sights to see!

The attention to detail in Pandora was amazing!

Pandora is beautiful!

Breakfast of champs for Ann & Rapunzel (forgot to change my name for the first one).

One of my favorite places to eat, Flame Tree BBQ!!!  AND it was on Mickey!!

     We spent the morning until after lunch at Animal Kingdom seeing the sites and riding rides.  After lunch, we headed to our resort to check in and use our first snack credit!!  For this part of the trip, we used my DVC (Disney Vacation Club) points to stay at my home resort, Old Key West.  We also did the Dining Plan.  I wanted everything paid for in advance so that I didn't have to worry about anything.  For this part of the trip, our friend, Meredith came back with us.  You have to take advantage of having an Annual Pass, right?  I stayed at OKW for the first time this past February for the Princess Half Marathon and loved it there.  After staying there twice this summer, it's now become one of my favorites.  You'll see why.  

We love Mickey Ice Cream Bars!

     We had our first dinner reservation that night at Olivia's Cafe right there at OKW.  Dinner was delicious!  We loved our waiter, who is also a full time teacher.  I don't know how he does it.  My Lyla-Boo turned 7 at the beginning of June, so this part of the trip was dedicated to her birthday.  At Olivia's, our waiter rang the bell and had the WHOLE restaurant sing Happy Birthday to her!  It was so fun!!

Dinner at Olivia's Cafe

The Bread Pudding was amazing!

The girls LOVED the make your own Sundaes.

     Friday was the day that we specifically set aside for Lyla-Boo's birthday.  She got to pick the park we went to that day, the rides we rode and where we ate dinner that night.  She chose Epcot and wanted to ride Soarin', Frozen, Finding Nemo, and Spaceship Earth (Test Track didn't come until the end of our summer).  Her dinner choice was Be Our Guest.

The Birthday Girl!

The Bubble Gum Wall!

A trip to Epcot is not complete without a Cronut (Croissant Donut)!  These are my fave!

A rainy day at Disney is better than no day at Disney!

Lyla-Boo's Birthday Dinner!

So delicious!

     After dinner, we hung out in Magic Kingdom for a little bit and caught up with my bestie and her family.

At last I see the light!

     The next day, we headed back to Magic Kingdom.  If you have never taken a ride on the Main Street Trolley or one of the Main Street vehicles, I highly recommend it!  Our first time was Spring Break of 2015.  We loved it!  It's so magical  This was Meredith's first time!

Make sure to catch the Main Street Show!

     That afternoon, we had lunch ressies at the Grand Floridian Cafe.  This was our first time there.  It was delicious!

Somebody chose breakfast for lunch.

My dessert.  YUM!

The next day we headed back to Epcot with my bestie and a breakfast reservation at Garden Grill.  Our bus was running super late from our resort, so they gave us a free fast pass to use at Epcot.  This was our first time to experience breakfast at Garden Grill.  It was delicious!  This cinnamon roll was to die for!!!  I almost forgot to take a picture of the rest of our breakfast.  It was the standard family style breakfast.  It was yummy though.  I'm pretty sure that Lyla-Boo also got her birthday cupcake to end the meal.  πŸ˜‹

This was one of my favorite pictures from the week.

Minnie loved that we were matching.  

Later that afternoon we hung out at our resort and enjoyed some pool time.  We had a special visitor stop by our resort!  This was the first time that I had seen a character at one of the resorts other than the character meals.  Apparently this is something special that the deluxe and DVC resorts do for their guests and members.  I'm not sure if they advertise it or it gets out by word of mouth, but I heard one of the Cast Members informing a non OKW Resort guest in line that this was something that was for the guests staying at our resort.  They still let them meet Mickey though.  πŸ˜„

There were a couple of afternoons where we had rain storms and they had to shut down the pools because of the lightning.  I noticed that every time this happened at a Deluxe/DVC resort, the fabulous Cast Members were ready and willing to entertain the children.  Lyla-Boo tried her hand at Jenga and Mia tried her hand at the hoola hoop one rainy afternoon.

     On Monday morning, we went back to Animal Kingdom and rode the Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey in Pandora (again).  We couldn't get enough.  πŸ˜„

Lyla was singing his song the whole trip.

Breakfast at the Satu'li Canteen.  The French Toast was yummy!

Breakfast in a steamed "pod".  I heard it was alright.

Finding Nemo the Musical

Lunch back at the Satu'li Canteen.  Super Yummy!

The Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse was SO good!

July 3rd at the Magic Kingdom.

Watching fireworks from a balcony at the Contemporary Resort.

On July 3rd, we had dinner reservations at the Wave which is at the Contemporary Resort.  This was probably my least favorite experience of all of my dining experiences at Disney.  They wouldn't combine my best friend and my reservation to sit together.  That's fine, except that when we were finally seated, there were tons of empty tables all around both of us (she was on one side of the restaurant and I was on the other).  We would've been happy just sitting at the table next to each other.  All we could do was wave at each other across the restaurant.  πŸ˜ž   The service took forever too.  We almost missed the fireworks even though we should have had plenty of time.  The food was just okay too.  We had been hoping to watch the 4th of July Fireworks at Magic Kingdom, but we ended up watching them from the balcony at the Contemporary Resort.  Beware of the monorail track blocking your view.  It was still amazing.
     The next day we headed to Hollywood Studios and got to show off my Rey Ears by Ears by Ray and our Star Wars shirts by my sweet friend Ashley (Vinyls With Character).  Both ladies have shops on Etsy.  Check them out!

Disney friends are the BEST!  Love this lady right here!

When I had booked our dates, I did not realize that the 4th of July was a big deal at Old Key West.  Members line up at the pool way before it opens in the morning.  They have a parade around the resort with decorated golf carts and then they had a special visit from Minnie in her finest 4th of July attire.  They had all sorts of fun activities planned for the members.  I have learned my lesson.  The next time that we stay here over the 4th of July, we will plan a resort day for the 4th.

On the evening of the 4th, we had dinner reservations at one of my FAVORITE places, "Ohana.  You'll find 'Ohana at the Polynesian Resort.  They have a delicious family style breakfast with Lilo, Stitch and friends.  For dinner, there are no characters, but the family style, all you can eat food is SO good!!!  I always leave there SO full.  Be sure to try their bread pudding!  All I can say is "Oh My Goodness!"  The one pictured below was all mine, since my friend is gluten and dairy free and my girls had cupcakes.  SO GOOD!!  After dinner, we headed to the beach at the Polynesian Resort.  That was an awesome way to watch the fireworks.  They incorporated the boats that they use in the Electric Water Pageant.

Lyla and I couldn't get enough of the noodles and pot stickers.

July 5th was breakfast at Chef Mickey's.  Seriously, so much food and it was all so good!!!  I love breakfast though.  We then spent the day at Magic Kingdom.  We hadn't seen the parade yet, so we hung out until after the 3:pm parade.  I don't have a picture of it, but Rapunzel LOVED my Mickey Ears.πŸ˜ƒ  My favorite places to watch the parade are either by City Hall or in Frontier Land.  We then took the night off and took the ferry from our resort to Disney Springs to try out Blaze Pizza.  That place was super yummy!  After that, more swimming at our resort.

Caught this guy just roaming Frontier Land.  Oh look...Dole Whip!

On our last day there, we had a long drive to continue on more of our Epic Summer Road Trip, so we had one more breakfast booked at Olivia's Cafe (thanks to a great Cast Member).  After breakfast we hit the road.  Our adventure was continuing, but don't you worry Disney, we were coming back!

One last birthday celebration for Lyla-Boo.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our Epic Summer Road Trip.  Until then, we'll be prepping for our next few races.

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