With just over 10 days to go it’s time for our next vacation! Emily has only 4 more days in Kindergarten, Sander needs to work only 6 more days and Danielle just needs to pack our suitcases.
On Sunday the 12th of January we pack everything in our car before we leave to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt we’ve got a direct flight to Orlando, Florida!
After our arrival we first get our Visitor Toll Pass an automated toll payment solution for visitors to Florida. This allows us to drive through the electronic toll booths saving us time, while saving money at the same time. That’s what we call a win-win solution.
Next stop is Hertz for our rental car, we’ve reserved a mid-size SUV, we are already curious about what car it will be exactly. We did book this one through the ADAC (German AAA / ANWB), the deal was amazing saving hundreds of Euro’s compared to every other car rental agency we’ve looked at.
If we arrive on time we hope to start this trip with a short visit to the Disney Character Warehouse in one of the Premium Outlets before we drive to our first hotel in Melbourne, Florida. It’s a Crowne Plaza at the Oceanfront, we picked it expecting to wake up early enough to watch a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.
Next stop is Boca Raton, we stay at a Holiday Inn. The next stop is even more amazing, the Port of Miami. here we will board the Disney Magic for a 4-night cruise to Key West, Castaway Cay and Nassau, Bahamas before we are forced to disembark in Miami again.
After the cruise we continue our drive through Florida with a visit to the Everglades and a stay in the Staybridge Suites at Naples – Marco Island. The last hotel of this trip will be in the Even Hotel in Sarasota – Lakewood Ranch.
But don’t be sad for us our vacation isn’t over yet. The last 1,5 week we are staying in Kissimmee, we’ve booked an apartment through Airbnb at the Niido. And off course we’ve got tickets to Walt Disney World for the full eight of our stay in Kissimmee.
We already booked the first FastPasses and the activities we want to do onboard the Disney Magic, the only left is our suitcases. We are all excited to get this trip started!
Shopping in Miami…
Today was the usual one day bad weather we have during our vacation, at least we hope it stays to one day only with still two days to go. Usually we go out shopping in the local indoor malls but we’ve done this already and have pretty much seen everything. So we decided to drive to a somewhat bigger mall in Miami about 220 miles from our hotel, that’s about 350 kilometer.
The destination was the Aventura Mall where one of the bigger Macy’s stores is located as well as one of the 2 Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Florida. To make the trip worth it we got a 50$ gift card from the Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Miami due to a complaint I filed in the first week of our vacation which we needed to pick-up.
Yes we know that’s about the same amount of dollars we would spend on the roundtrip Lake Buena Vista – Miami – Lake Buena Vista so where are the benefits? Well besides the in general 25-40% lower prices compared to Europe we got a 10% off on our entire purchase as a returning customer and there was an action with 25% off of every woven shirt and blouse in the store.
We woke up early to make sure we would leave on time and at exactly 8:00 we drove to the 7eleven across the street to fill the car with gas. At the first Starbucks along the route with stopped to get coffee and a small breakfast. From there Danielle took over the steering wheel and drove without a single stop to the latest stop of the turnpike Florida while Sander was surfing, sending whatsapps, sending mails and gaming on his 2 phones and iPad. After the driver change we arrived at the Aventura Mall at 11:30 and we went straight to the Tommy Hilfiger Store.
Shopping was as amazing as the last time, we got helped some great new items and Danielle was really lucky since the first items from the brand new women’s holiday collection arrived today. After a solid 2 hours we left the store and saved $244,75 together with the gift card this was $294,75, in Euros that would be about €220, so I think the trip was well worth it since the gas costed $63,79.
After the shopping we where hungry and we decided to visit the Grand Lux Cafe, this was a deception. It should be the better version to the Cheesecake Factory and we think it can be but we where just unlucky wight the table we got and our server. The Kobe Burger we picked was delicious. The server already knew his service wasn’t the best and he already apologized a couple of times when handing over the bill, so this was a first time for me tipping clearly less than what is usual in the States.
After lunch we walked through this huge mall but except for checking out the new iPad Mini with the Retina screen and the faster processor, checking out the Macy’s we only bought something at the Victoria Secret. And then it was time for his to drive back to our hom…hotel.
As soon as we were back in the Greater Orlando area we decided to go to a pizza place Yelp suggested, we ended up by a very small New York style pizza place where we ordered a MEDIUM-sized pizza with two different toppings. One side had Hawaii and the other half was BBQ Chicken.
After having this one finished we drove the last 20 minutes to our hotel where Danielle checked out our luggage situation. We might not need a 3rd suitcase this time but that is something we will figure out on friday evening after we have bought a new suitcase since one of our suitcases is in a bad state and might not make it back to Europe without falling apart.