Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

Disclosure: I was hosted by Wyndham for my stay in their resort. However, all opinions are my own.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Bobby and I decided we wanted to take Emma Kate to her very first water park in Orlando. When Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive invited us to stay as their guests, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity.

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The best thing about this resort is that you can stay where you play. It is the official resort of I-Drive 360, and there is so much to see and do, many things within walking distance (Like the Orlando eye). It’s also only twelve miles from the airport, so you are literally close to everything. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.

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I loved all the greenery and tropical plants surrounding the walkways and the pool areas. There are also plenty of dining options including a bar in the lobby and at the pool. The resort is also home to Gatorville, he poolside grill and bar.

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The rooms all have pillowtop mattresses, 40” flat screen tv’s and mini refrigerators. We were in a king room/family suite that included a separate area with bunk beds and another TV for the kids.

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I really love the idea of the bunk beds, I just wish there was a door or partition to close off this area from the rest of the room. Emma Kate LOVED the bunks though and hung out on the top one all evening.

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Another thing I liked is there is complimentary wifi at the resort. I was given a password upon check in and logging on was super easy.

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Also, there are TWO outdoor pools as well as a heated spa, and a renovated fitness center. The lounge chairs at the pool looked so nice and relaxing!

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This resort also boasts over 60,000 square feet of meeting space. There are two grand ballrooms, and a catering team ready to meet your wedding, party, or business needs.

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I wish we had more time to explore the area, as there were so many things within walking distance we could have done! There is the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, the 7D Dark ride adventure, and great restaurants and shopping like Tervis, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Sugar Factory.

Probably the best thing about this resort is the price. Rates start at just $79 per night, so it’s perfect for a quick getaway, girls weekend, or business trip.

QOTD: Have you ever stayed here? What do you look for in a resort?

Crescent City Classic 10K Recap 2016

Saturday morning, we woke up to our alarms at 6:15 (super late by race day standards!) and got ready to run the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans for the fifth time.

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I had yet to decide on an outfit, but went with bright pink to go with the Easter theming, and of course my bunny ears, which I have worn for every CCC I have run!

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We were staying at the Hyatt, the host hotel and where the expo was located, so it was amazing to just walk downstairs and there was the start line! We were waiting for the other bloggers at the start line before heading to our corral.

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We weren’t able to get everyone, (that’s what happens when your race has over 20,000 registrants, but here are some of us!

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Bobby took this one, not too sure what was going on, apparently. So glad Jen wore her ears, too!

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We headed to Champions Square and up the Superdome steps to get into our corral.

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The corrals were color coded, and the first three were seeded corrals. They had big colored banners to help you figure out where to go, but since green was in front of purple and red, we had a hard time figuring out how to get past those two corrals and into ours.

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We weaved our way through, right as the race was starting and our corral took off! Poor Bobby had forgotten to get location on his GPS so he had no idea what his time/pace was for the first two miles. We were both running alone, and of course he took off at the start and I never saw him again. I put my headphones in and zoned out. I really wanted to PR but was nervous because it was 97% humidity and it was already had to breath just standing there.

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The first mile was very frustrating because there were so. many. people. and I had to do a lot of weaving (this would come back to bite me later, but I had no choice). I started out way too fast because I knew I needed to make up time from behind stuck behind people, walking, holding hands, etc. and my first mile beeped at 8:39. I knew that was a bit too fast for me for a 10k, but I was feeling good and kept going at that pace (foreshadowing…now). We ran down Decatur and through the French Quarter.

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I was sweating SO MUCH that I couldn’t get the camera on my phone to come on because every time I tried to swipe the screen it was soaked with my sweat from my hands. Hence why the above picture of the St. Louis Cathedral is blocked by a tree. We hit Café Du Monde and honestly, I snapped the below pic and then never even looked to the side. I was SO focused on not tripping or running into anyone and on keeping my pace.

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We made the familiar turn onto Esplanade and I decided to take a picture before I got too tired to do so. I saw a bunch of people running on the opposite side of the road where it was much less congested, so I eventually made my way over there and am so glad I did. I had way more room and just felt more relaxed not constantly having to change up my cadence to go around people.

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Miles four and five were rough for me. I ran a 9:30 pace for both of those. My body felt fine but I could not catch my breath with the humidity. I looked down for most of those miles and just told myself to keep going. I stopped twice to grab water and took two sips then poured the rest down my back, as I was getting really warm.

The course was new this year, so instead of running towards the art museum and around back, we went to the side, and kind of zig zagged our way to the front of the Museum. It was kind of a tease because you could SEE the finish line but weren’t quite there yet.

The whole race I thought I was going to run a 57:00, then realized that because of all the weaving I had to do, that I would be over a tenth long so my time on my GPS watch would not match the finish time. This was frustrating because I knew I could run a 57:00! However, I knew I could still PR (old PR was 59:04) so I gave it everything I had. That last mile was so mentally challenging, but thankfully it was faster than miles four and five. I barely even looked up as I approached the finish, and didn’t even smile for the cameras. I was just powering through with every ounce of energy I had left.

According to my watch, I ran 6.31 in 58:26. (That was my official time just not official distance!) While I am really happy to have PR’ed, I knew I could still go faster, and being the uber competitive person I am, wasn’t completely satisfied. After the race, all I wanted was water. They told us to keep walking and we would get to water and our medals. Well, we walked…and we walked…and we walked. I was about to fall out! I get why they did it, as to not bottle up the finish, but the water was REALLY far away. Then we had to keep walking more to get to the finish festival.

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I bee lined it for the VIP tent, and texted Bobby who said he was where the medals were. I assumed he was just waiting for me so I told him to come on to the VIP area. The tables were set so cute for Easter!

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I immediately grabbed chocolate milk, a sandwich, and a Mimosa (great combination, I know) and took a seat.

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Our two sided medal was really cute!

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Finally Bobby appeared and didn’t have a good race. He had worked out really had four days that week (including the day before) and his legs were dead. Apparently I passed him somewhere along the way but had no idea. I felt so bad for him, I thought he had long since finished. Sad smile

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We ate and met up with some blogger friends, and then it started POURING. Thankfully, we had the tent to get under and it only lasted about ten minutes, and then the sun came out.

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More friends arrived and we just hung out listening to the music and eating and having a good time.

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The race announcer, Mike spotted us and it was great to see him. He does a great job with so many races!

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Rockin’ Dopsie headlined the event and did an amazing job. Check out this video:

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After awhile we decided it was time to head back too the hotel, pack up, and head back to my parents house. Sweet Jen and her husband had their car at the finish and offered to give us a ride to our hotel.

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We made it back, showered, packed, and left NOLA once again. We had a blast and it went by way too quickly! A huge thanks to Crescent City Classic for an amazing race weekend that just gets better and better every year!

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Disclosure: I received race entries and VIP passes for this event, however all opinions are my own.

QOTD: What race has the best post race party that you been to? Do you like the 10K distance?

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek

I had the privilege to stay somewhere new the night before the runDisney half marathon, somewhere I honestly never thought I would stay. I am a Disney loving “stay at a Disney hotel” kind of girl, so I was a little reluctant to try out Hilton Bonnet Creek, but I am So glad I did!

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I hope to have more info for you on the actual hotel and all the activities and food and things there at the end of February, but for now I want to specifically talk to you about Marathon Weekends.

Hilton Bonnet Creek has put together a special rate for those staying for runDisney race weekends, and it comes with some great extras that are not offered at Disney owned hotels. There was also a runner’s concierge in the lobby, and they could answer questions for us, get us signed up for the bus the morning of the race, and they also had a goodie bag for us. (Note that to ride the bus to the races you have to sign up ahead of time and are given a wristband as a “ticket” for the bus to and from the race.)

Hilton Bonnet Creek is actually inside the gates of Walt Disney World, so it is super close to the parks and other Disney activities. Check out the balloon at Disney Springs you could see out my room’s window!

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Those staying with the special marathon weekend rate are also given a card that saves you 10% on hotel food and beverages during your stay. They have so many restaurant options, and even special carb loading menu items for runners.

The real magic however came on race morning, where we were greeted in the lobby with signs and our own personal cheerleaders! The music was loud, the DJ was getting everyone pumped up, and it really helped to wake me up since it was, you know, 2:45 in the morning.

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They also provided a continental breakfast for the runners. It was nice to hang out in the warmth of the lobby, chatting with other runners (and using real bathrooms!) before heading to the race start.

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I ate a protein bar, a banana, and grabbed some water. (I had brought some food with me also since I wasn’t sure what I was going to feel like eating). I was told that the reasoning behind the certain food items was that they wanted to provide things that would be easy to eat in the corrals or walking to the corrals. Smart thinking!

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We took some photos out in front of the bus and were cheered on as we boarded. It was EARLY, yall, so it was such a nice touch!

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Oh, something else I didn’t mention, all runners staying for Marathon Weekends get a late 2:00 pm checkout, how cool is that?

Please note that at this time, there is no official transportation to the 5k and 10k races or expo which was a bummer, but the runner’s concierge can help you set something up if you would like. We grabbed a cab to come back from the expo and it was quick and easy. There is also  Mears shuttle you can take to and from the airport that cost approx. $21 each way when booked online.

They also had a runners reception at the pool with rum runners at noon after the half marathon, but sadly we had a boat to catch and were not able to stay. Next time!

I give Hilton Bonnet Creek Marathon Weekends a thumbs up, and would definitely stay here again for a race weekend!

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The enthusiasm, the little touches, the breakfast, and the proximity to other Disney activities really swayed me. I think they have a good thing going here, and I sadly just learned about it last year! If you have any questions about marathon weekends, let me know and I can get the answer for you.

QOTD: Did you know this existed? What do you think about the early morning cheerleaders? Who wants to stay here now?!?

Disclosure: I was provided a free stay to check out marathon weekends for myself, however all opinions are my own.

Around Coronado Springs

Last week, I wrote a post about Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, a moderate resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. A lot of people really like this price range, so I thought I would feature some shots from around the grounds of Coronado Springs today.

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Coronado is another moderate, and it’s rooms sleep 4. It is a BIG spread out resort with multiple bus stops, but it is beautiful as you can see from the photos below. There are different themed “villages” that have a very different look from each other. There is a sit down restaurant, lounge, counter service food location, multiple pools, among other features.

There is a playground for the little mouseketeers.

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and an AMAZING pool area with water slide!

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They have an arcade as well near the pool area.

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Who wants to play in the sand?

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The sprawling resort centers around a large lake. Thankfully, there are many bus stops and an internal bus system so you don’t have to walk to the main building to get on a bus.

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There is plenty of space to sit outdoors, too.

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Look who you can find at the main building

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This place is a runner’s dream!

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Want to stay at Coronado Springs or have questions about another Disney resort? I would be happy to help you plan! Email [email protected] for free help!

QOTD: What is your favorite moderate resort at Disney?

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

Good morning! A lot of people are starting to book their hotels for runDisney events, and I have been getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on where to stay, so I thought I would do a few hotel reviews to help those out headed to a runDisney event, or just headed out on vacation.

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Port Orleans Riverside is in the moderate resort category (below deluxe and above value). It is a hot commodity because it is one of two moderate resorts that sleep 5 people over the age of 3 (values only sleep 4).

It is a beautiful and relaxing resort with a laid back atmosphere and southern charm. The “hub” of the resort centers around the check in area, food court, lounge, restaurant, and gift shop. The below photo is the other side that faces the marina.

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There is one feature pool at this resort complete with waterslide and a pool bar. There are also quiet pools throughout the resort.

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Port Orleans Riverside is divided up into two sections, Alligator Bayou and the mansions. Alligator Bayou has cute touches from the Princess and the frog, and has a very woodsy/country feel.

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Below you can see a photo of the pull down trundle bed available in some rooms for a 5th person.

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Across the river you will find the mansions. They are very majestic looking sitting on the riverbank. Most of the rooms have a very southern feel, and then there are a group of “royal rooms” which happen to be my personal favorite.

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The royal rooms cost a little extra, but pack a big punch. Fireworks over the beds, and cute Disney touches everywhere.

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These rooms are in a preferred (aka close to the main buildings) section of the resort. However, there is more than one bus stop so even if you are further away you don’t have to walk to the front of the resort to catch a bus to the parks! However, this is a big resort (2048 rooms!) so paying extra for a preferred location is something I recommend.

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All rooms have either two queens of a king bed (king bed is a separate bookable category) and have double sinks, flat screen TV’s, a coffee maker and refrigerator.

Another perk of this resort is the ability to take the boat to Downtown Disney instead of a bus. It’s a scenic relaxing ride and a nice change of pace if you aren’t in a hurry to get somewhere.

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This is my favorite moderate resort, we stayed here for Princess this past year and it worked out great for the race!

QOTD: Do you prefer a quiet relaxed resort or one right in the middle of the action?

If you have any questions about this resort or any others, feel free to email me at [email protected] for details, and vacation booking help.

Aloft New Orleans Downtown

When Bobby and I went to New Orleans for the Crescent City Classic the weekend of Easter, we decided to stay in a hotel close to the start line the night before as opposed to driving in that morning of the race as we have done in the past.

We ended up staying at the newly opened Aloft New Orleans Downtown, which was just a few short block to the starting line at the Superdome. I have never stayed at an Aloft hotel before but have heard good things, so I was excited to try it out.

We were given a corner room on the 15th floor with great views of the city, and even the Superdome! I loved the apartment-style feel, the bathroom was open to the bedroom with a space up top above the “wall” which was pretty neat.

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It had a very modern, techy vibe, and the room was huge!

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My favorite though was the New Orleans touch in between the beds. Who doesn’t love street cars? DSC_0033

Here is a closer look.

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Our room had two comfy queen beds (king beds are available), a flat screen TV, a desk, and plenty of other seating. I was afraid with so many windows, we wouldn’t be able to sleep. However, Aloft had us covered (no pun intended) with double shades on the windows, it was plenty dark for us!

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The bathroom area had two closet spaces, an in room safe, a refrigerator, and coffee maker.

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Also something I loved, a free bottle of water!

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We loved the lotion and soaps here, too.

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There was a sliding door where the shower was located. DSC_0029

Which by the way, was huge and really nice!

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We were also left a sweet note and some snacks. (Side note: There is a little store downstairs called Re:Fuel that is open 24/7 where you can purchase snacks and food and charge it to your room.)

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Bobby’s favorite part were the city views. He sat in the windows just looking around for the longest time. The hotel ahs a great vantage point! Can you see the Superdome?

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Since we arrived when it was dark, I waited to take pictures of the lobby and outside the next day after the race.

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Below is a picture of the WXYZ bar. When we checked in the night before, it was during happy hour and boy was this place hoppin’! Definitely seemed like the place to be for those wanting to enjoy the social scene. They also have live music and food here as well.

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As you can see the hallways carry on the modern and stylish theme of the hotel.

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We really enjoyed our stay here and wish we could have stayed longer! The proximity to the French Quarter was great, the room was huge and nice, and the staff was friendly.

They also offer meeting spaces if you are in town for business, so this place is more than just guest rooms! Another think I learned is that this is a pet friendly hotel (up to 40 pounds). There is also a gym and pool which we didn’t have a chance to check out (the pool isn’t open until May). We also took advantage of the free Wi-fi while we were staying at the hotel.

We didn’t really find many cons to the hotel. Valet parking was $39 plus tax which does make me want to have a heart attack, however it is on par with the price of parking for other hotels in the city. I would also say there was definitely a younger crowd staying here. We didn’t hear ANY noise during the night, but I can see this as being more of a hotel for partiers. That is totally fine, but I just like to be honest and warn people in advance who may not be as into that late night scene.

A huge thank you to Aloft New Orleans Downtown for letting us stay at this beautiful hotel for the night, we hope to be back soon!

Disclosure: I was provided with a free night’s stay in exchange for my honest review. Of course, all opinions are my own.

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Relaxing Afternoon

Saturday after the shake out run and brunch, we had boxed lunches in the hospitality suite, and some amazing folks from ALTUS were there to stretch us out and work out any kinks we had before race day. I was really excited about this because I was worried about how my hip and knee were going to hold up. I explained everything and he did some active release therapy on me and some stretching as well and while it was pretty painful at times, it ended up helping SO much, they are miracle workers! While I was eating my lunch, I noticed ASICS turned a quote I had given them into a cool photo and posted it on Twitter. Love it!

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After lunch I decided to go down to the pool and relax in the shade. The only problem was I couldn’t find an empty chair! I ended up chatting with a guy who was also running the marathon and when the two ladies next to him got up to leave he came and got me and helped me carry my stuff over so I could have the extra chairs. Super nice of him!

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We ended up chatting about running and the race while I waited for my buddy Linzie to arrive to hang out with me. See, I promise I stayed in the shade and chugged water the whole time!

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I hadn’t seen Linzie in awhile so it was great to do some catching up while I was in town.

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Time flew by and soon he had to go. I needed to go get ready for dinner anyway so we said our goodbyes and I got ready for dinner in Venice with the rest of the #TeamASICSLAM crew. We ended up walking part of the way to the restaurant because the traffic was so bad so we jumped out of the bus to make our reservations!

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Dinner was delicious (pasta, chicken, etc.) but I was so exhausted and ready to get back and get to bed. My friend Crystal who was running the race was on her way to the hotel to spend the night with me and I couldn’t wait to see her either! We ended up staying up too late chatting, and 3:15 came all too quickly. Time to get up, it was LA marathon day!

QOTD: What do you eat the night before a race?

Cabana at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On Monday, my friends and I rented a pool cabana at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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You can rent for 4 hours or the whole day(10:00-2:00 is the first time slot) for $110 or $185 plus tax and we tipped as well. They had Cabanas by the main pool and then two out by Bay Lake by a quieter pool which is where we were located.

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It was so great having the nice breeze blowing across the lake, and having a ceiling fan underneath. Our cabana host also closed one side of the tent for us to block out the sun.

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The cabana comes with drinks in the refrigerator and a small fruit plate. There is also a television, and an iPod docking station with USB connector.

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There were two padded lounge chairs, and two lounge beds that were big enough for two people each.

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You can order drinks from the bar, food from the poolside counter service location, or even from private dining (takes more time). I had an amazing drink from the new bar menus you may see at the Disney resort pools.

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You can have up to four people in your cabana, so it isn’t that expensive if you have some friends or another couple to share it with. We really enjoyed the quiet as well as the view from our cabana.

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It was nice to be able to enjoy the sun then get in the shade under the fan when I needed a break. There is wi-fi at the pool so you can even bring your laptop.

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QOTD: Would you ever rent a poolside cabana? Have you?

I would love to help you plan your dream vacation! email [email protected] for details!

 

Visitors

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Hi everyone! I am currently on my way home from a little road trip, (by the time you read this) but am posting Tuesday night. Bobby and I had to go up to the place we moved from 6 months go to take care of some business. Can I just say its totally weird to get a hotel room in a city you lived in for years? For a good part of the day I was alone, so I used the opportunity to go running in my favorite neighborhood, eat Lunch a McAlisters, and drive by our old house (so weird!)
If you have never driven by an old home its hard to explain the strange feeling! Out of habit, I almost pulled into the driveway! Ha! Anyway, we were supposed to be home Tuesday night but due to some unforseen things, we spent another night. No problem. More eating at my favorite places, shopping at my old favorite stores, ice cream for dessert, etc.
We have only been Gone 6 months but it felt strange to be visitors the past Couple days.  Those of you that prayed for us yesterday thank you so much, please keep praying, some things still could/need to happen, its not over.
I apologize for the boring post, but like I said, I was expecting to be home Tuesday night. Tomorrow we will be back to normal at RWS!
I took some pics with my phone but the wifi sucks here and its not uploading anything! So, here is what I could get, pictures of our hotel room and view. Did I mention I miss living here?

QOTD: have you ever driven by an old home of yours? How did it make you feel?

Road Trippin’ part 2

 

Hi friends! I hope you had a terrific Tuesday! I have been a busy bee and have driven many miles. Yesterday morning, my mom and I set out on our road trip and I hit three stores. We spent the night in Monroe, Louisiana. This morning we went to another store then drove aaalllll the way to Fayetteville Arkansas for another appointment. THEN we drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma where we are spending the night. (By the way, I have driven EVERY single mile!)

Tomorrow I have two more appointments, then Thursday 3, then Friday 2. WHEW! I am going to be zonked. I am exhausted, but having a good time selling Running Skirts. I am tired of eating out/fast food every meal but other than that having a good time and feeling productive.  Not to mention my IT band is SO TIGHT from being in the car all day and driving/pushing the pedals. Luckily, I brought my handy dandy foam roller!

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So this is each leg of the trip in a word/phrase so far:

Baton Rouge: Traffic

North Louisiana: scary hotel

South Arkansas: corn

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Northwest Arkansas: Mountains

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Oklahoma: Power lines

By the way…HUGE heat wave going on right now…it was 99 degrees at 8:00 tonight. no lie, check it out:

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On thing that is different though, not NEAR as much humidity. I got out of the car expecting to have a heat stroke but it wasn’t that bad without so much humidity! So sorry, Oklahoma. I don’t want to hear any whining about the heat. Just kidding, you can whine a little. But not to me, mmk?

Oh, you want to know what happened with the scary hotel huh? It’s quite a funny story, but you will have to wait until tomorrow. Smile

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Having fun in Tulsa! (at the nice hotel) Watch out, it’s hilly, I may dent a car…..

QOTD: Have you ever stayed in a crappy hotel? why? do they bother you? share!