Cora Armenio -- June 1999 -- Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort
Cast of Characters:
Scenario - Rented one mini-van to drive over two days from Franklin, Mass to Hilton Head Island. Ma works for Marriott so we stayed overnite 1 nite at a Courtyard (Ma’s rate $29.00/nite per room). Also, someone I work with loaned me her TV for the car (love that woman!). Also, we requested daily housekeeping and a bedboard (for me with the bad back)...this will be an issue later.
Day 1, Sat. June 12- 4:15 am (yes AM) alarm goes off and we’re up, shower and final loading of the van (we picked it up Friday nite). Wata & Ma arrive at 4:45am and we finally wake up AAA and put him in the car with PJ’s on. And we’re off! I drive for about 6 hrs until the leg finally gives out. We’re stopping just for meals, etc. The game plan is to try to make it to Raleigh, NC tonite but we only make it as far as Richmond, VA...so we cancel the ressies at Raleigh! One little thing...Ma got stuck between the back seat and middle seats...too bad the camcorder wasn’t handy -- I think I lost my $100,000 from the Funny Video show! LOL
Day 2, Sun. June 13 - 6:00 am up, breakfast at 7:00 am, so nice to sleep in! LOL And we’re off again. But we make that obligatory tacky stop at South of the Border. Last time Wata saw it was in 1959 when he drove to Miami with my godfather for a 3 day weekend. Was he amazed. We had lunch there. I was pleasantly surprised. Well, back in the car and we’re off to HH. Finally at 4:30 we arrive. The resort is beautiful, it blends so nicely with the surroundings. We all roll out of the van and who is standing there? Our friends from Atlanta who were meeting us! What a great reunion!
Check-in in a breeze, our box from Netgrocer had arrived too. About 1 1/2 weeks before we left I spoke with a wonderful CM (I found out later her name was Jennifer) who I asked about my hubby’s tee time. Well, during the course of the conversation I asked if we were in the system yet and she said yes. So I gave her all my requests, not too many steps (my parents hve knee problems), near the pool, non-smoking. She said she would get them all (I figured if I got the step thing I’d be happy). Well, we were in Bdg 23, Villa 2311. We had 6 steps, overlooked the pool and had non-smoking...I couldn’t believe it. Well, we walk in and it is gorgeous! The living area is wonderful as are the bedrooms and oh that jacuzzi! Also, I couldn’t get over how with the doors shut you couldn’t hear the pool! The only things that stood out to us were stains in the carpet (turns out the carpet has not stood up as they imagined and they are all being replaced) and the toilet in the 2nd bedroom ran, my Dad the carpenter fixed that -- No charge, Disney! I was so pleased that my parents loved it! I checked under the bed and no bedboard. I’ll live for tonite but I’ll call in the am. Also, Grocery Run, a wonderful service, had stocked out refridge with milk, juice and left a bag of snacks for us. Well, that nite we just couldn’t go to a restaurant too tired and AAA wanted to go in the pool so we tried take-out. Well, the front desk gave us some wrong info, Scott’s at the Marina is closed on Sundays and the Old Oyster Factory does not do take-out. So after driving around we stopped a gas station and asked a ‘local’. She said to go to Crabby Nicks. Got our take-out and went back to have dinner on the deck! The food was so so but it was sooooo relaxing. After that we all went in the pool and my Dad even went in the spa! Amazing! We all finally went in around 9 pm, AAA ready for bed and me into the jacuzii, then off to bed.
Day 3, Mon. June 14 "Here come the waves, or this was worth the trip"- Up early, Frank has already left for his 7:37 am tee time. Me, Ma, Wata and AAA went to Topsiders for breakfast, now in typical Disney fashion, nothing to write home about...but it is convenient. However, this makes us decide to go to the store to get bagels. So we’re ready to head to the beach...but first off to the GV for coffee at the Cottage (this title is more appropriate for Vero than HH, but c’est la vie). The GV is beautiful, my parents can’t get over how spacious. The only problem is they are on the top floor and consist of two stories so it could be an issue with "knees". Now back to the room to change and catch the shuttle to the beach house. Jim our shuttle bus driver was great, since we were the first of the day we got a tour of the beach house by him. It is so nice to have a pool and beach so close to each other. It is a great facility. So down to the beach. Now keep in mind we are used to Cape Cod, very course sticky sand and walking on the water line can be challenging. Not on HH, the sand is like sugar (without the sticky) and the water line is hard sand, so hard you can bike on it. It is beautiful and better yet the water is 74 degrees! Well, before we know it, AAA has his shirt & sandals off and is heading for the water and in he goes! I on the other hand have about 12 bags in my arms and are trying to rent chairs and an umbrella. Our friends from Atlanta have already staked their claim and are having a great time (now, I had only mentioned to our friends that we were going to HH in June, well, after my conversation with Lisa she called me back 1/2 hour later to tell me they were staying at the DVC during the same week. I was a bit apprehensive if they would like the place... they loved it! Last year they stayed at the Hyatt for about the same price and all they had was a hotel room! They said they are coming back to DVC next year and may join!). So we rented 4 chairs and an umbrella for 4 days for $105, which is great considering we couldn’t have got a needle in the van let alone chairs, plus they are set up for you every morning. I loved the service. So we all finally get in the water, well, Ma gets nailed by a wave and is sent head over heals! Wata is laughing so hard...all he can say is it was worth the 16hrs in the car to see that! My poor Mom, she gave us the comic relief of the week. Well, we go back and forth between pool and beach. Lunch is at Signals at the Beach House, not too bad. Finally, AAA looks like he is being cooked, even with 30 block on. So I start to take him back to the villa. Housekeeping has not come. I call the front desk and was told they have til 4:00pm. Frank finally returns and can’t find us, my parents tell him we are at the pool so he goes back to the resort...little did he know there was a pool at the Beach House! It was a Laurel & Hardy routine. Well, I get AAA back to the room and he actually takes a nap without arguing! Housekeeping has not come. I call the front desk and was told they have til 4:00pm. Well, I call at 3:45 to tell the front desk housekeeping has not arrived and at this point they cannot do anything. They say they will get us towels tonite and have housekeeping there in the am and will not charge us for today. Everyone finally gets back and we get ready for dinner and head to the Old Oyster Factory. All I can say is WONDERFUL! We all highly recommend this. We arrived about 5:15 and there was no wait. After a great dinner, we decided to go to Harbour Town. This was a pleasant surprise (Thanks for the info Doc!). TIP: After paying your $5.00 to get by the gate, take the shuttle, do not try to drive in. What we could see was a lot of congestion and no parking. Meanwhile we had a mini-tour and a very relaxing trip.
Harbour Town to me was a cross between Newport, RI and Fanueil Hall in Boston. Very nice, cute shops and great music. Me, Frank and AAA climbed the 114 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Very humid, but the view was worth it. Eventually, we head back to the Resort and off to bed. (True to their word, we had towels in the room when we came back.)
Day 4, Tues. June 15, "Oh, here come those waves again" - Yesterday we got bagels at Piggly Wiggly, so we had those (better than Topsiders). Got ready and off to the beach. Great morning, Ma gets nailed by another wave, as does AAA. My Dad is loving this! For lunch we get takeout from PJ’s (right at Shelter Cove, Note: they take cash only). The deli food was very good, very NY. Finally about 2 pm we head back to the room. Housekeeping has come! We are all happy. AAA takes a 2 hr nap, I love this place, and I take my obligatory after beach jacuzzi! Finally we all get dressed and ready for the American BBQ. Now as you all know, Disney generally doesn’t do food well...but this BBQ was quite good. For $12.95/adult and $9.95/child (I think) you get all you can eat, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, burgers, etc. They have a watermelon seed spitting contest, face painting, bubble blowing, and good ole Uncle Sam walking around with flags for the kids or the kid at heart. Also, at 9:00 there are fireworks. We had a good ole time. The watermelon seed spitting contest was a riot. TIP: Those with smaller kids need to watchout for the older kids cutting in front. Finally, we head back to the room (it looks like rain and it is thundering) to watch the fireworks, which are nice. Off to bed.
FYI: Disney shuts the pool if they can hear thunder, this happened almost each day in late afternoon, sometimes it would re-open.
Day 5, Wed. June 16, "Hello, is this my room?" and "I am the bird man!"- Up and off to the Hilton Head Diner for breakfast, very good, should be on Disney’s preferred list of restaurants. After breakfast back to the room to change and off to the beach. We only stayed a couple hours today, the sun is taking its toll on all of us. We got AAA back to the room after lunch for a nap. Now Frank goes and cooks/grills with Matilda (I’m trying to teach him to grill!). I head out to check out store and my parents stay at the room. More particularly I leave my Dad on the deck. His big pastime is to leave cookies on the rail and watch the birds dive in for them. We dubbed him the Bird Man of Hilton Head. I went shopping at Coligny Plaza where I found a wonderful bakery called Coligny Bakery, I picked up yummy breakfast stuff for Thurs. morning. I head back to get everyone and go get Dad at the Lodge to head to Scott’s for dinner. We have to be back by 6:45pm for our Dolphin Cruise at 7:00pm. Dinner at Scott’s is good. I had grouper, which I love & can’t seem to find up here in Mass. Unfortunately the skies are clouding and it looks like rain. But we’ll see about the cruise. We start to head back to the room to change fro the cruise. Somehow we loose my mother. She eventually shows up, only after having knocked on someone elses door! Well, Dad got another chuckle out of that! Well, as of 6:45 the cruise is on, we meet at the Mercantile. They take a max of 6 per cruise, since we are 5 we get a boat to ourselves. Well we’re ready to go and what happens???? The heavens open and it downpours. They go and check and tell us we can get on the 11 am cruise tomorrow, Thurs, we say yes and AAA has a melt down. He wants to go NOW! Poor little guy. We finally calm him down and spend a quiet nite in the room. Finally around 8:30 me and hubby head out with Walter (our friend from Atlanta) for a few drinks. We sat outside Scotts at the marina. What a lovely nite. We head back around 10:30.
Day 6, Thurs. June 17 "Members Day!" or "Ah, that’s a yacht we are about to hit"- Our last full day. We wake up and it is overcast, actually kind of nice for our 11 am Dolphin Cruise. We have those wonderful pastries for breakfast. Me, Wata & Frank take the Members Only "Behind the Ears" Tour of the resort with Jim the Disney Naturalist. I highly recommend this tour. It is great. Tells about the construction and the nature of the island. The tour ends at Big Murgie’s Den at the Lodge for coffee with the General Manager. We all discuss what we like and dislike and possible improvements. All in all I felt like they were sincere in their comments. After this I am off to the Mercantile to use my 10% member discount, yes I did damage! Now back to the room to get ready for the Dolphin Cruise. TIP: DO THIS! We had a ball! We saw about 6 - 8 dolphins, had a private tour of some of the area and the Capt. let AAA drive the boat. Now AAA driving is fine in a straight line...but when you throw in figure 8’s and circles well it makes things interesting...especially when you look up and yell "Ah, that’s a yacht we are about to hit"! It makes for an interesting ride. I couldn’t believe how close the dolphins would get. What beautiful animals and what was best was to see them in their natural habitat. After this we head to a great place for lunch the Boathouse II. It is on the back side of Hilton Head Plantation. We sat outside. I had a spinach salad with fried oysters and apple bacon dressing! Yummy. Frank had pulled pork sandwich, Wata crab cake sandwich and Ma a chicken sandwich. It was all wonderful! After this we headed to the DVC preview center to get our member pin. Then Ma & I dropped the guys for mini-golf and she & I went shopping. We get back in time for the member social. I went with my mom and AAA. Now again today they forgot the housekeeping and we realized it too late. So I called the front desk and they said they wouldn’t charge us. Frank went to workout and Dad stayed in the room. The social was ok, not a ‘social’ as the one in Vero, but still ok. After this we head back for our last dinner in HH, we met our friends at the Spartina Grill. This was also a very good restaurant. With the exception of Crabby Nicks we were pleased with all the choices we made. After this we walked over to Shelter Cove for ice cream. I did some last minute shopping and then back to the room to pack. :-( But I did get one last jacuzzi in! LOL
Day 7, Fri., June 18 - Get up and finish packing the car. We requested Express Checkout on arrival so our bill was hanging on our door. And guess what? Because of the mess up with the housekeeping, they didn’t charge us at all! This was a pleasant surprise. Well, time to say goodbye to the resort and off to breakfast at Hilton Head Diner and another 2 days in the car. Well, that is basically it! Hope I wasn’t too long winded.