Life, Vacation

Daytona Beach, Disney Springs, and a budget hotel review

We’re back from Disney World! Well actually, we’ve been back since Sunday but it was an amazing and much needed vacation and I can’t wait to spam you with our vacay photos! We did 5 full days in the parks last week so I’m going to split them all up into separate posts so I’m going to start off with the beginning of our vacation just to catch us up. 

This post is part of a series I’m doing on Disney World – If you want to check out more posts, click here.

We left for our vacation after Brady finished work on Friday (May 5) and started our long drive down to Florida. Driving saved money on flights and rental cars so it’s what made sense. We had a room booked at the Hampton Inn in North Florence, SC on the way down which ended up being a bit over 7 hours drive because of the traffic we hit going around DC. 

We made it to Daytona Beach a little before 5 PM on Saturday afternoon and spent an hour and a half chillin’ on the beach. I wasn’t able to convince Brady to jump in the water with me so while he read, I jumped in the ocean for some body surfing and wave jumping. I will say that it took me a while to actually go out into the water because we’d just been reading about the prevalence of shark attacks in Florida… I still have all my limbs so I survived a couple hours in the ocean. As we were walking back to the car, we stopped at Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop to buy custom bag of salt water taffy and it was the best decision ever! Every single piece was jam packed with flavor and oh so yummy.

We arrived at our final destination, the Baymont Inn and Suites Celebration around 8 PM and had a quick check in. That’s all that was quick because then we got trapped by a lady trying to get up to go to a timeshare breakfast. It was frustrating because we had to go to the desk to pick up the parking pass but then we had to listen to her spiel and ended up being there way too long because my husband likes to make people feel appreciated… blah. We were finally able to get all our junk upstairs and arrange everything as we were going to need it. The room was fine but it was definitely in that 3 out of 5 stars rooms. TV was great, room amenities and counter space was great, bed was good enough for a week but not specifically comfy, bathroom itself was not the best, shower didn’t work properly and wasn’t perfectly clean either. There was a free breakfast every morning but we didn’t really take advantage of it because it was pretty eh. Good enough for a week and overall great for what we were paying.

The thing that made this almost the most perfect hotel? Location. We were a mile away from Animal Kingdom and we could pretty much see all the Disney parks from the 6th floor that we were staying on. We were near a ton of restaurants including a new shopping center that had a Super Target, Panera, Sweet Tomatoes, and a bunch of other great shops. The whole week was nice because we didn’t feel like were traveling to get anywhere everyday, it was a quick hop to anywhere we were trying to go. You’re basically on the resort without the cost of staying there. Obviously you don’t get all the perks that come with staying on a Disney Property but we knew that going in. 

Sunday was a chill/recover from road tripping day. Brady had some paperwork to get out of the way in the morning so I picked up a few last minute items while he did that and then we went to Disney Springs for the afternoon! Navigating the parking situation was frustrating because signage wasn’t clear but once we were in I was really happy! They’ve really changed that place for the better. Parking at Downtown Disney was horrendous and the shopping wasn’t that great. Now, it’s a beautiful complex that they’ve developed and I love the new vibe. It’s almost unrecognizable! This was our view coming out of the Lime Garage:

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Ghirardelli was first on the menu because a Nob Hill Chill is the bomb.com. We also spent a lot of time in the World of Disney Store which I think is a great place to start a Disney Vacation! Brady got a new hat that he ended up wearing the rest of the week and I found a Minnie Mouse bow ring that I ended up buying the next day at Hollywood Studios after thinking on it. I picked up a cute button to add to my collection as well.

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

Tren-D and Marketplace Co-op were another couple great shops to browse through and I found some adorable Disney love stuff.

We didn’t buy anything, but Amorette’s Patisserie is worth going into just for the looks.

Disney Springs, Walt Disney World

We took a break back at our hotel before going to On the Border for dinner. Unimpressive on the whole, the free chips were probably the only good thing. Our dinner really wasn’t great. We watched HGTV and went to sleep – we’re pretty boring people hah! Monday morning is rope drop at Hollywood Studios and then an evening at Epcot and trying out the new Frozen ride so stay tuned!

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