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Sue Holland -- July 2000 -- Disney's Vero Beach Resort


Who/When/Where:

  • Who:
    • Sue (me - 41), DVC member
    • Chris (13), my son
  • Dates: July 2-4, 2000
  • Travel Method: Personal car
  • Resort: Disney's Vero Beach Resort
  • Ocean View Inn Room
  • Experience: 3rd stay at this resort (average 1 trip per year)

INTRODUCTION:

This is a very short trip by my standards, and was not part of the original plan for 2000. An internet friend noted that I had no Disney trips scheduled for July, and so I rose to the challenge and decided to book a few days at Vero . With the 4th of July holiday being Tuesday this year, I figured I might as well take that Monday off from work, and make it a long weekend. I also later added a 2nd July trip - this one to wdw - to meet an internet friend & his family for the first time.

We're season ticket holders at the minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins team (Miracle) here, and Saturday night is the big fireworks celebration following the game. Also, Chris is working for them this year operating one of the concessions, and this will be a very busy night. I called member services and booked the Vero stay for Sunday & Monday nights only. This way we don't miss the Saturday night game/fireworks/working, and the points are a lot cheaper than on Saturday night. We'll miss the game on Monday night, but expect to be back in time for the game (& Chris working) on Tuesday night.

It's just the 2 of us going. I didn't invite anyone to join us, because I didn't want to get a larger unit and the Inn rooms are perfect for 2 people. Chris can find other kids at the resort to hang around with - luckily this kid was born making friends with everyone around him. I'm looking to relax, get some sun, do some reading, and just do a lot of "nothing"! The only part of the trip I dread is the drive - it's 175 miles, but because I have to cross Florida I end up having to use roads that go thru rinky dink towns...which I absolutely HATE!!! Unfortunately, the major highways are either far to the south or far to the north - so I'll have to grit my teeth & put up with the occasional traffic light or getting stuck behind some slow moving citrus truck (ugh).

As you'll see, the plans are not very exciting, lol! I will post pictures of the resort on photopoint since I don't have any from Vero out there yet. I'll also try to list some of the resort activities scheduled for each day, even if we don't participate in them.

The plans so far...

7/2 - Be on the road by 7am, check in & head to the pool or beach, dinner out somewhere

7/3 - Pool/beach all day long, dinner out somewhere,

maybe

go to the mall

7/4 - Pool/beach in the morning, drive home after lunch

DAY 1 - SUNDAY, JULY 2, 2000:

PLAN: Be on the road by 7am, check in & head to the pool or beach, dinner out somewhere

ACTUAL: We left just before 7am, which was pretty good considering we didn't get home from the ballgame until almost midnight (due to a rain delay). The drive was exceedingly boring and frustrating, but at least by leaving so early the traffic was minimal. Any time we'd come upon some slowpoke putzing along I was able to pass them relatively soon. I still hate this drive though, and going home will only be worse since it'll be mid-day.

We arrived at Disney's Vero Beach Resort just after 9:30. Most of our drive was through areas best described as run-down, depressing - until you cross over the bridge from the mainland. Then all of a sudden you're surrounded by communities of beautiful well-kept homes, nicely manicured landscaping & lawns. It's like night & day! You're no longer able to get into the parking garage without a room key, so we parked outside and went into the lobby to check in. The cast member was very friendly & perky but a little too talkative for today. I just wanted to get the darn room keys and get out to the pool, so I kept my responses brief & to the point to hurry her along some, lol! She confirmed that we were blocked into a room on the top floor, and asked if we wanted to wait until that room was ready or be willing to take whatever is ready first. I asked her if the room was worth waiting for, and she responded that if it was her she'd wait for it - so that's what I did. I figured the only problem would be if it started raining by noon time, but what are the odds of that happening?

She also mentioned that dvc members can use the facilities at any dvc resort whether they're staying there or not. That didn't sound right to me, so I asked her to repeat herself, and she insisted it's true. Hmmm - that would mean any dvc member who lives locally to a dvc resort can use the pool there every day??? It still doesn't seem right to me, but what the heck! I don't live close enough to one to put it to the test anyway . After completing check in we moved the car into the garage and went to the pool. Here you have to insert your room key into the machine to open the gate to the pool. I went to Eb & Flo's Rentals to get towels (they give you however many you ask for without question) and met Chris at our 2 lounge chairs. He was disappointed they don't have the pool basketball game anymore. The pool was pretty busy - but it was mostly young kids, no teens. We sat & looked over the activity schedule.

9:30-10:30 Jungle Trail Bike Tour (adults) 11:00 am Tot Time Bubbles (ages 3-5) 12:00 pm Pool Noodle Races (all ages) 12-4 DJ playing from gazebo 1:30 pm Beat the Heat Beach Craft (ages 6+) 2:00 pm Poolside Tug-O-War (all ages) 3:00 pm Sandcastle Creations (all ages) 4:00 pm Ultimate Sand Volleyball (ages 12+) 7:00 pm Make your own Sundae (all ages) 8:00 pm Trilogy in the Green Cabin Room (all ages)

The bike trip sounded interesting (we'd missed today's but there was one tomorrow), but I was afraid it would already be too hot to really enjoy it. There is a kayaking trip tomorrow, so Chris went to get the details. It's a 4 hour trip kayaking on the Indian River, ages 13 & up (they'll allow ages 8-12 with an adult in a double kayak), and costs $30 for members. He loves to kayak, but I'm not interested in it, so since the umbilical cord was severed almost 14 years ago I signed my precious little boy up for his adventure. This way we can each do our own thing, then meet up later.

I took a few pictures of the pool area, Chris went on the water slide, and he noticed a storm coming in from the north. Soon it was sprinkling, and then turned to a more steady rain. He went to Community Hall to see what was in there now. I grabbed our towels and headed that way also. The fitness center is right next door, and I was surprised how large it is - there's a lot of equipment in there also! By now it was absolutely pouring outside, so I sat in Community Hall and jotted down some trip notes while Chris played the free Nintendo 64 game (some NASCAR racing thing). About 10:45 the rain had stopped, so we went back outside.

Our chairs had been taken, so we found a couple other ones. It wasn't raining, but it was completely cloudy, kind of dark, and actually COLD (very windy, too). Who would have thought I'd be cold outside in July, lol! We were both hungry, so when Bleacher's opened at 11 I went over and got the chicken fingers and a virgin pina colada ($10.38). I had the small chicken finger, some fries & the pina colada. Chris had the other 3 chicken fingers & the rest of the fries (& gatorade brought from home). Everything was very good - when we're here it seems he lives on chicken fingers! It was cool enough that my pina colada didn't melt too fast, either! After eating, Chris got in the pool - it was probably warmer in the water than it was out in the air at that point. Soon the sun came back out, and he decided to get a basketball (free to members) and go to the basketball court across the street. The resort has a tunnel under the road so that guests can get to the facilities over there without having to contend with any traffic (although I've never seen many cars on the road). By noon it had clouded up again, and you could see the rain coming....it POURED! I grabbed the stuff and ran back to Community Hall with a bunch of other guests. Chris took shelter in the tunnel, lol. I checked to see if the room was ready, but it was not.

When the rain ended again I went back out and found a couple of different chairs. I wandered around the resort taking more pictures, and then went to lay down in the limited sun. Chris came back from basketball and we sat on the chairs watching the clouds build up, and then the rain came again. By now I was getting aggravated. If we'd had a room we could have gone to the room, but since we're still "homeless" the on & off rain really stunk! We ran back to the main building this time, and checked out the menu for the restaurants. We also went up to check out the Green Cabin Room up on the 2nd floor. I'd never go to the indoor section, since they allow smoking (it's a bar), but they had some tables outside with a view of the ocean that looked nice. I imagine at night I'd see smokers there having a few drinks, but it's a possiblity for lunch some day. There were mostly families out there eating today.

I found out they do have a refillable mug program here. For $7.95 you get unlimited refills for the length of your stay (not for the length of your life). The mugs say 4th of July 2000 on them, so I imagine it would be hard for people to cheat with them. The mugs are refilled at Bleacher's (pool snack bar) and you give it to a cm who fills it for you.

Since the weather was still crappy, I got the laptop out of the trunk and sat off the lobby over near the tv and started today's report. Chris watched Winnie the Pooh, and wandered around. A little before 2 the room still wasn't ready. So much for working on my tan today....I hope tomorrow is a better day! Since there was no point in heading back outside to get rained on again, I also finished reading the message board stuff I'd downloaded that morning.

After putting the laptop back in the trunk, we noticed something very strange. I almost couldn't believe my eyes...it was so weird....was it really happening??? Yes, the sun was actually shining again! Quick - back outside we went before it started raining again, lol! We put our stuff on our chairs and went for a walk on the beach - headed north. Part way Chris decided he'd rather go in the pool, so he returned there. I met him back on the beach just before I got back to the resort, and he'd decided to walk the beach headed south this time. He did that while I went back to my chair and laid in the sun. I've commented to people before that I am not impressed with the beach here, and I still hold that opinion. The resort's beach is no worse than the rest of the beaches in this area - I don't like any of them. They're too narrow, it drops off quickly so you've got rougher water to contend with, and the sand isn't as pretty as Daytona. I didn't have time to stay at Daytona Beach Shores this summer, and wasn't planning to next year either - but might have to make time for it. I love the wide, white sand beach, and the gradual drop off that makes boogie boarding so much fun! The walking took about an hour - now it was just before 3pm. I only went about 1/2 way into the pool because I thought the water was a little cool (nobody else seemed bothered by it, though). By about 3:10 I opened my eyes to very dark clouds again, and within maybe 15 seconds it was pouring rain again! I grabbed the stuff once again, and ran up to the porch outside Sonya's restaurant to wait it out.

Subj: Vero Trip Report - 1.5 of 3 Date: 7/4/00 5:54:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time From: WDW1972 To: DVClubber

In typical Florida style, the rain had stopped in about 10 minutes. Once again someone had claimed my chair, so I put the damp towels on the next one and headed to Eb & Flo's to pick up one dry towel. There was a house phone there, so I called to check on the room - and it was ready! (3:20pm) I got my dry towel, and saw that Chris had just returned from the beach, so we went to the garage to unload the car.

All my requests were met - non smoking, top floor (4th) room. We're high enough to actually see part of the beach, which we were unable to see the year we were on the 3rd floor. Also, because it's so windy waves are breaking long before reaching shore plus we can see them break when they reach the beach also - so it's a very nice view. I think the room would be considered "dormer" style, as one of the walls doesn't go straight up, but rather is slanted following the roof line. It's probably visible in the pictures. It makes the room look smaller, but it's fine for the 2 of us. Unfortunately in the kitchen area this wall means there are no cabinets over the counter, so what limited food I brought is sitting on the counter. The beds seem really low to the ground, too, and inside the closet the shelves are only half way up the wall (due to the dormer; it's definitely not a wheelchair accessible room - a wheelchair would never make it out of the entry way).

I took a few pictures, and then we walked over to the Beach Cottage for refreshements (3-5pm each day). The Beach Cottage is the Vero equivalent of a grand villa - 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Most people absolutely love them, and each one is it's own separate building. I don't like them at all, though. The living area is tiny - yet the unit is marketed as being for a party of 12! Even if you had 1 couple in each of the 3 bedrooms, I think the living room is too small for even 6 people to sit around comfortably. There is a lot of deck space, and a porch swing, but I'm pretty sure I'll never book one of these units. The refreshments consisted of lemonade and Pepperidge Farm cookies - not too exciting. We each ate a cookie, walked around the unit, and then left. Back in the room I took my shower, then downloaded the pictures from the digital camera onto the laptop. Later I'll have to name them, and send them to photopoint (which should take 30-60 minutes since there are so many of them). There may be a few pictures added later, but the majority of the pictures I wanted to get were taken today.

Once again the rain came - pounding onto the glass doors, since it was blowing in from the ocean. It's still very windy. I made us each some French Vanilla cappuccino and Chris watched tv while I used the laptop. We were hungry (5pm), but after the cappuccino I was ok again...not sure about him though, lol! He'd finished a can of Pringles, but really hadn't eaten anything since our early lunch.

We left the room about 5:30. The rain had stopped, and the sun came out again. There was a restaurant we were interested in, but since tonight was the ice cream sundae thing I decided we'd just grab something small tonight and save the restaurant for tomorrow night. Tomorrow night's the campfire thing (including s'mores) but I stopped to check it out last year and I couldn't stand it for more than 20 seconds....although if Chris was still a pre-schooler it would have been fun for him. It was just too goody-goody for me, lol - it's much more fun at Hilton Head. We might give it another try, to see if it's changed at all, but primarily to get a s'more (Chris isn't sure he'll eat any - he's still recovering from breaking the s'mores eating record at Hilton Head last December, by eating 9 of them).

We drove into Vero Beach and found the restaurant - Bono's BBQ. It looks ok, so we'll eat here tomorrow night. I was expecting to see many of the chain restaurants you see everywhere, but pretty much all there was along Route 1 was fast food places. We saw a Miami Subs & Grill, and since we hadn't eaten at one in years we decided to stop there. We shared Chris' favorite item there - the gyros platter - and also got a caesar salad ($8.86). It turned out the gyros was plenty for us both, so we brought the caesar back for him to eat later. I tried it, and wasn't impressed with the salad at all, and was glad he wanted to share the gyros because I was thinking of ordering the chicken caesar. While we were eating Chris commented that this part of town was like Harlem - which to him means run-down rather than anything racial, and he's right. Once you leave the immediate resort area Vero Beach is a pretty low-income kind of town.

After eating we drove back to the resort along A1A (the most coastal road) which was decidedly nicer than Route 1, lol! The weatherman on the radio is saying tomorrow's weather should be much better than today, thank goodness! Back at the resort I went to the room to put the salad in the refrigerator while Chris checked Community Hall. We were supposed to meet there, but he came back to the room and said it was packed with little kids - duh, no surprise, lol! We walked down there, and I think almost every guest had decided to come for a free sundae. The line kept building & building, so finally I got in line while Chris sat at our table. It took about 30 minutes to get to the front! I'm not sure I'd do this again...maybe I'd just show up at 7:30 or 7:45 and that way have a shorter wait. We had a choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and for toppings they had chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, butterscotch, marshmallow, mini m&m's, crushed oreos, chocolate chip cookie pieces, hershey bar pieces, and sprinkles. It was good, but the idea of putting the swimsuit back on in the morning is making me regret my sundae!

We stopped at Eb & Flo's for Chris to check the available videos - the Inn Rooms now have a vcr in them. All the movies he was interested in were already out, so he decided to just watch tv. Videos are free for members, and I think $3 for non-members. There were maybe a dozen people in the pool, but with the breeze it was chilly enough that Chris decided against going for a swim. Lots of people were in the ocean, and the waves were HUGE! One guy was saying the rip currents were pretty bad, so I know I'll be staying out of the ocean this trip.

Chris went back to the room while I browsed in the gift shop before heading up myself. We were in by 8pm - this would NEVER happen at wdw, lol! When I'm there I've got my Comedy Warehouse, but when I'm elsewhere I tend to get back to my room early. Chris is settled in for a night of watching tv & eating the caesar salad. I went to bed (I'm freezing & wanted to be under a blanket & bedspread) to finish the report and take care of the online stuff.

The day went according to plan, although I could have done without the frequent rain! Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day (weather-wise).

The pictures can be found at www.photopoint.com At the View Members Albums (or something like that, just scroll down) enter my ENTIRE email address - wdw1972@aol.com The pics should be in the album titled July 2000 Vero Trip (or something like that - I'm headed there to set it up soon).

DAY 2 - MONDAY, JULY 3, 2000:

PLAN: Pool/beach all day long, dinner out somewhere,

maybe

go to the mall

ACTUAL: I'd purposely left the drapes open a couple of inches, and woke up around 6:30 when it became light outside. Chris was still sleeping - he'd sleep thru floodlights and a marching band, lol! The surf is still very rough, but that adds to the great view. Now, if only they'd put an electrical outlet on the balcony (it's too small to be called a porch) like at OKW - I could sit out there with the laptop. Last night Chris commented that our room was like being in an attic - which might be a more accurate description than the "dormer" room thing. You'd only find this on the top floor, and on the ocean view side I'd take it in order to have the view. When I book garden view I think I'll not request the top floor, and that way get the cabinets in the kitchen, and a closet where I hang my stuff higher than my waist, lol!

It was absolutely silent last night - no noise from the hall, outside, or neighboring room. One strange thing - between the beds are 2 reading lamps, but the switches control both of them together. It wasn't possible to turn off Chris' light & leave mine on, so we turned them both off when he went to bed. I sat out on the balcony and saw a couple of people headed to the pool area to "reserve" their chairs - this was before 7:30!! It's not like they're going to run out of chairs, lol! To my surprise, Chris woke up around 7:30. I made us some cappuccino and he also ate the caesar salad from last night. We each ate one of our yogurts (strawberry with granola for him, cookies & cream for me), and I've got pop tarts for him in case he's hungry later.

Today's theme is "A Day in the Tropics and the activities are: 9:30-10:30 Bike tour down tropical jungle trail (adults) 11-3 Kayak Adventure (ages 8+) 11 am Low tide tot time fish challenge (ages 3-5) 12 pm Water balloon toss (all ages) 1:30 pm Hula Hoopla (all ages) 2 pm How low can you go limbo (all ages) 2:30 Caribbean coconut races (all ages) 3 pm Hawaiian lei toss (all ages) 3:30 pm Treasures of the sea craft (ages 6+) 4 pm Totally tropical face painting (all ages) 6-9pm Disney Discovery Club - kids program (ages 4-12) 8pm Campfire (all ages 8-11pm Contemporary jazz in the Green Cabin Room (all ages)

I sat on the balcony with my cappuccino watching & listening to the waves. The humidity is awful...don't come here during summer with a special man unless you want him to see you at your absolute worst! You'll notice there are no pics of me on photopoint this trip ! The tide must be high, as I can't see any beach at all - just water. I came back into the room around 8:15 - at 8:20 the sun came out from behind a big dark cloud and it was nice to actually see my shadow! However, the dark cloud moved over the resort, so while I was basking indoors in the sunlight it was raining pretty heavily against our glass doors. I don't see any other clouds that will come over us soon, so once the rain ends we might have a window of opportunity for sunning.

A little before 9am we headed down to the pool. Just about the entire front row of chairs were already reserved with towels and clothing - guess I know what I need to do tomorrow, lol! We found a couple chairs one row back, and since I didn't have kids to keep an eye on in the pool these seats were fine. Eb & Flo's wasn't open until 9, so all these people must have gotten their pool towels the day before. Chris went to Community Hall, rode the slide, sat in the jacuzzi, then went to play basketball to dry off before it would be time for his kayak trip. I sat on my chair, since the sun was out and I wasn't very optimistic that would last!

About 9:40 I could see a big dark cloudy area coming :::sigh::: and the sun disappeared. Luckily that cloud blew inland just to the south of us, so we were spared for a change. Chris & I went in the pool for a bit, and when he came back from the slide I pointed out a bunch of younger kids who were watching a crab that had gotten into the pool and was crawling along the bottom. He went over to see it, and went underwater and scooped it up in his hands. Well, that pretty much cemented his place as hero to those kids, lol. He headed out to the beach to release the crab, with all the kids running along beside & trailing him. Once on the beach he let whatever kids dared to touch the crab, and then released it at the water's edge.

I headed back to my chair, and at 10:15 big dark clouds were coming in off the ocean. Amazingly, these clouds blew away to our north - sparing us once again! I'd picked up a menu in the lobby for another restaurant we might try next year - called Mr. Manatees. It's on the river, looks casual with lots of seafood (of course) but also stuff I'll eat. They give a 10% discount if you show the menu with the discount stamp on there (no prices, but I'd figure it's moderately priced). There was a little girl rollerblading in the pool area, which I thought was awfully unsafe, but I didn't see an cm's say anything to her. The same lady as in previous years is still giving free swimming lessons to kids at 10am Monday thru Friday.

Chris was in Community Hall again, playing Nintendo 64 with another kid. I went inside to tell him he needed to go eat his poptarts before the kayak trip, and the other kid said it had been canceled. I checked at Eb & Flo's and they confirmed it had been canceled because not enough people signed up. They refunded my room charge (there was a message waiting in the room also).

I brought Chris the kids' book of video rentals (they've got 3 - animated, kids, & adult). The kids' book was all movies rated G or PG. The adult book was PG-13 and R. Of course, Chris didn't even want to look at the kids' book - I guess he's much too old for kids movies, lol! I told him to return the book & get the adult one then, and I returned to my chair. He ended up selecting Water Boy (PG-13), and he can watch it later tonight. Selecting your videos early in the day (after 10am) is another key thing here at Vero - if you wait until after dinner there's practically nothing left! I laid on my chair eating part of a Fruit-fulls bar and read a magazine.

About 11:30 Chris came over to declare his hunger. He wanted chicken fingers and nachos, but I wasn't sure we could eat all that - so I sent him to get the chicken fingers and a chocolate chip cookie (about $7 I think), figuring if he was still hungry he could go back for the nachos. Once again I ate the smallest chicken finger & some fries, and we shared the cookie. The cookie was ok - not as large or as good as the one I'd shared with Nancy at Stormalong Bay last month. When he was done eating he didn't have room for nachos, so I was glad I didn't buy them.

We played mini golf ($1 for members, $2 for non-members). It's only 9 holes, and nothing special, but it was fun. I shot par (23), and Chris ended up with 28 due to a couple of bad holes. I even got a hole in one. The pool was extremely crowded by noon, and the water felt so cool I just sat on the edge rather than getting in. Chris mentioned there'd been a sign on the beach saying no swimming due to rip currents, so perhaps more people than normal had decided to stay at the pool. He headed back to Community Hall, where I later found him playing foos ball with 13 & 14 year old sisters and their younger brother - from somewhere in the United Kingdom. I ended up going in the pool - it was so warm outside the cool water felt good! Afterwards I went back to my chair to read another magazine and do some people watching.

Lately there've been a number of threads on the boards or RADP generating lots of responses, and of course they were on my mind as I people watched. I saw NO thongs, very few tattoos, only 1 tattoo on a woman (big ugly thing on her lower back), but did see several people with small temporary tattoos of Mickey Mouse in various poses. There were very few smokers...unfortunately 3 of them were immediately behind me but when they lit up I was relieved to find the wind blew all the smoke away from me (there is no designated area for smokers at this pool). I think that hits most of the major threads....there's not an area for tables so I wasn't able to monitor if people were saving tables while another member of their party was in line waiting for their counter service food .

Around 2pm Chris was ready for nachos, so I got an order of those and a virgin pina colada for me ($9). The nachos were made with the thin chips, which I like, and came with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa, & jalapeno peppers. They were pretty good, and the pina colada was delicious!

I'd expected to get rained on again today, so I hadn't really bothered with much sunscreen other than the spf 30 on my face - and it felt like my arms were getting a little tender. I'd darkened quickly (hadn't been out in the sun since last month at Stormalong Bay), so there wasn't any redness, but I didn't want to risk a sunburn. About 2:30 I told Chris what I was doing and returned to the room to shower and watch General Hospital. I told him to be back to the room around 4:30, so he can shower before we head out.

After GH, I sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the view. The ocean was not nearly as wild as it had been earlier and yesterday, but the waves were still pretty big. There were people out there swimming & riding the waves, but not that many considering the resort is sold out. Chris called about 4:15, wanting to know what time he was supposed to be in. When he gets really old I don't think his kids will be able to tell if he's getting Alzheimer's or not, the way he forgets things! He was calling from the pool phone, he'd finished the nachos (so probably wasn't hungry), so I gave him until 4:45. I was getting hungry, though, so about 4:30 I went inside and made 1/2 cup of cappuccino. I also stopped at the mirror....with the sun out it didn't feel that humid, but the mirror told me the humidity was definitely still a strong presence! Somebody needs to invent a pill you can take to make your hair immune to humidity!

While Chris was at the pool he befriended one of the cm's in recreation and found out the basketball thing was gone because it had developed some fractures and the older teens/young adults were slam dunking balls and making it worse. Supposedly they're ordering a heavier duty one. Another cm told him they've ordered a ping pong table also - to be set up outside somewhere.

We left the room about 5:30, and headed to the Indian River Mall but enroute I decided I really didn't need to go to any mall after all. Instead, we headed directly to dinner. I noticed that on the road outside the resort there's a gorgeous sidewalk...paved, flat, smooth - just perfect for rollerblading! I drove for 9 miles before turning off to get back on the mainland, and the sidewalk continued even further! I definitely have to come here when it's cool enough to skate some year. It'd also be great for bike riding - on the skating trip we can rent bikes for a day and ride into town for lunch (about 5 miles up the road) and then ride back - like we do at Hilton Head. The trouble is finding time to come here when Chris is not in school and we're not already scheduled to be at wdw or Hilton Head.

We found Bono's (the restaurant) easily, and as soon as we walked inside the smell of delicious barbecue hit us! The restaurant is small, but cute. It's not fancy, but it's not a dive either. They've got several locations, including Daytona, but they're all on the east coast of Florida or in Georgia. We were seated right away (no-smoking section - and didn't smell or see smoke anywhere at all). The prices were very reasonable, I thought. I had a $2.49 glass of white zinfandel, and Chris' soda was $1.19 for a very large cup. He had the bbq beef platter, with baked beans, texas toast, and a baked potato ($7.99). He asked for extra sour cream, and it came in those tacky 1-oz cardboard containers but the waitress gave him 5 of them (he used 3)! I ordered the Fresh Vegetarian Salad (don't faint, lol) hoping that since it was only $3.99 it wouldn't be full of a bunch of different veggies, and I was right. It was a huge plate of basic lettuce, with tomato, cucumber & big fat slices of red onion. I'd ordered honey mustard dressing, which was very good. I gave the tomato to Chris, but ate the other stuff (couldn't finish the lettuce). They had a dessert special today - warm brownie ala mode with fudge sauce for $2.99, but we didn't have room for it. Chris ate his entire meal, except for the couple of bites of beef I stole - it was excellent. The total including tip was $19. We'll definitely be back on future trips.

We drove back to the resort, and goofed around taking some pictures (they'll be on photopoint sometime 7/3/00). Turtles are a big thing here, and besides the turtle design in the lobby floor there's a big painting of turtles in the entry to the lobby (Chris took a pic of me standing by it). We walked through the tunnel (breezeway) to the other side of the street. In the tunnel they play soft Disney music, and they've painted the characters from Peter Pan along the walls. Across the street are the tennis courts, basketball court, cm parking, a lake, and a nature trail. We started walking the trail but bailed out because the mosquitos were too bad! So, we never did see where it led to. Coming back through the breezeway we wandered around the resort taking a few more pictures, including Chris losing his balance in a hammock, lol!

On the way back to our room we stopped at the front desk so I could pay our bill - I keep vacation money separate from our regular money - and then went upstairs. Chris started watching his movie while I downloaded the pictures and updated the trip report. I could see the campfire pit from our room, but since we (ok, I) were only interested in the s'mores I wasn't in any hurry to get down there right at 8pm. They had a huge crowd - standing room only - and they were singing & clapping to some song. Not my thing...so we waited until about 8:15 or so to head down there. Chris was asking if we had any food - and I told him he could have s'mores...but he's still "s'mores traumatized" I think. I told him he needed to overcome his fear of them, though .

The campfire was actually a lot like the one at Hilton Head - silly songs, stuff people act out, and they ended with the Hokey Pokey. It lasted about 1/2 hour, and then they did the same s'mores instructions bit they did at HH. One of the cm's gave Chris a big bunch of skewers and asked him to pass them out to the people on one side, while the other cm took care of the other side. I'd say there was well over 100 people attending. It took Chris a while to pass them all out...I spotted him talking to a couple of teen girls (maybe the ones from foosball). Each guest got a skewer and a cm gave them 2 marshmallows. When their marshmallow was toasted they went to the table & under towels they had the 2 graham cracker halves and the piece of chocolate already set up - ready to go. That went much smoother than waiting in line to get those parts. I took our marshmallows and 3 sets of the graham/chocolate, but we just microwave ours back in the room. Chris stayed behind to talk to a friend for a few minutes, and I returned to the room. We'd discovered a staircase right next to our room that leads down to right outside shutter's restaurant, so I used it and quickly climbed the 4 flights up to the room (much faster than going down to the lobby, waiting for the slow elevators, and then walking back to the room).

I made my s'mores and got online. Chris got back later and watched the rest of his movie. I'm sorry to be leaving tomorrow...life is pretty good here!

The day went according to plan except for deciding to skip the mall. It was the right decision - the mall is ok but nothing special, and it was much nicer spending time at the resort.

DAY 3 - TUESDAY, JULY 4, 2000:

PLAN: Pool/beach in the morning, drive home after lunch

ACTUAL: Chris ended up playing foos ball with a friend and his dad last night, getting back to the room about 10. He'd called, but it was just after I got online (the message was waiting for me when I got offline though). I wasn't overly impressed with the movie (Water Boy). I expected it to be stupid, but didn't expect so much swearing. I guess that's what got it a PG-13 rating!

After another night of sleeping well, I got up around 7am and started packing up our stuff. When I went out on the balcony I could see that people had already started reserving their pool chairs, so I took the pool towels I'd gotten late yesterday afternoon and went down to get our chairs (using the handy stairwell next to the room). The lifeguards were training or something in the pool, but no guests were around - despite all the chairs with towels & clothing on them! Back in the room, Chris was awake but wasn't ready to leave his bed yet. I sat on the balcony for a little bit, but it was too hot to stay out there (no breeze). The ocean was MUCH calmer today - the waves are very small, like it's been on our previous 2 visits. In my opinion, it wouldn't be any good for boogie boarding - the waves aren't much bigger than those in the Gulf of Mexico. The express checkout was slipped under the door before I woke up - the only thing charged was last night's internet connection ($.35 for members, $.75 for non-members). By the way, if anyone wants the # of the room we had (for future requests) it's 2410. Although the attic-style ceiling was a surprise, the location and view were superb!

I made us cappuccino, and we each had a cookies & cream yogurt. When I opened the cabinet door to throw away the lid on my container, there was a big palmetto bug sitting on the roll of paper towels! It moved - I screamed and slammed that door shut - and that set Chris up for several minutes of making fun of me (the brat) for screaming! It's worth noting he did NOT do anything to catch or kill the bug .

We left the room at 8:30, loaded our stuff into the car, and then went to the pool. Finding that bug made it easier to be leaving - Chris is the only bug I want to share a room with!

Today's theme is Independence Day, and the activities are: 9-10 Welcome reception in Beach Cottage (all ages - they do this every Tuesday) 10am Tot time star seek & find (ages 3-5) 10:30 Red, White & Blue Relays (all ages) 10:30 SnorkelEars (ages 8+) 11:30 All American water balloon toss (all ages) 12:00 Big Bang Water Bash (all ages) 12:30 Discover Scuba (adults) 1 pm Pie In The Sky Family Spectacular (entire family - not sure what this is - maybe pie throwing) 2:30 Star Spangled Wrap Up (entire family) 3:00 SnorkelEars (ages 8+) 3:00 Unca Banjo on back porch (all ages) 3:30 Statue of Liberty water pail race (all ages) 4:30 Pool Relay extravaganza (all ages) 7pm Cookies & Milk storytime (all ages) 8pm Campfire (all ages) 9pm Sea Turtle slide presentation (all ages)

Tuesday is the only day they don't do coffee in the beach cottage from 8-10, but that's because of the member reception from 9-10 (coffee plus food). There were only a few people at the pool at 8:30, despite all the chairs with towels . Chris went in the pool, and was the first person to go down the slide when it opened at 9. While I was laying on my chair a man walked by and was telling someone the mosquitos across the street were like pit bulls - eating him alive. He must have gone on that trail (Teresa, you might rethink going over there in the morning).

We went over to the reception after Chris did the slide. There were a lot of people there (as usual) and they had a nice spread of fresh fruit, apple & raspberry rugelah, croissants, orange juice, and mini muffins. First the pirate Justin (Beachmosphere actor) talked about the different activities at the resort & in the immediate area - and he was hysterical! I found out the kayak trip involves kayaking up the river for an hour, then stopping on an island to play & have lunch (included in $30 fee) before kayaking back down the river. The lunch is grilled chicken, some other stuff, and according to Justin - the "most killer brownies you've ever eaten, Dudes"! A kayak rental out on the beach is $20/hour, so $30 for a 4 hour trip that includes lunch isn't such a bad deal after all. After Justin was done a dvc guide talked a little about WL & Beach Club dvc coming on board, and some of the various discounts available to members at wdw. He didn't say anything new to me, except that he thinks they'll probably start taking points reservations for WL Villas after Labor Day.

Finally, another cm did the door prize drawing - and the first number drawn was mine! I've never won anything at these things, lol! I got a beautiful clear acrylic coffee cup (the style that fit in the cup holders in your car) with the Vero Beach dvc logo. It came in a small blue tote back the the Vero logo on it as well. I was VERY happy with my prize, even though I don't drink coffee in the car. In fact, it's so pretty I may never be able to bring myself to mess it up with coffee!

We returned to the pool, where I alternated between the pool & my chair, and Chris went to the slide. He met the 2 teen girls, so they hung out together the rest of the time we were here. Turns out they're from Scotland, and their parents own at BW. They seemed like really nice girls - not trollops like the American teen girls he met last year here! LOL - maybe I should look into boarding schools in Scotland for him! Anyway, they rode the slide, played foos ball, played air hockey, went back to the slide, and even got a metal detector (free) from Eb & Flo's for use out on the beach.

Someone had written asking the price of chair/umbrella rentals here. 2 beach chairs (not lounge chairs, but I think they recline somewhat) and an umbrella is $17/day for members, $23/day for non-members. The drink of the day is the Firecracker - a frozen rum runner with whipped cream and topped with blue curacao for $6. It sounded yummy, but with having to drive home I didn't get one. I stuck with the free ice cold water they set up outside Bleachers. Around noon Chris wasn't hungry for lunch yet, so we got ready to leave - leaving sometime before 12:30.

The drive home was boring, but traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. We stopped for gas & drove thru McDonalds in Ft Pierce, and were home between 3:30 & 4pm. One scary thing happened - in Okechobee (hick town, near the big lake). There were 5 huge but empty citrus trucks rolling along in the right lane, where they belong. One of them (the jerk) pulled into the left lane, where they don't belong, in front of me. However, he caught up with some idiot in a pick up truck who was putzing along very slowly (in the fast lane - it figures!). I pulled into the right lane to pass them both, since that lane of traffic was moving faster. As we get onto a small bridge, the citrus truck starts moving over into my lane WHILE I'M IN IT! I was on a bridge, with concrete walls, so there was nowhere for me to go. I kept my hand on the horn, but he kept on coming over. Luckily I slowed down, keeping the car straight, and the tiny bit of shoulder was enough space to barely contain my small car between the wall and the truck! I could have opened my window and touched it - we were that close. What a jerk he was - he probably didn't know I was there, but that's what his mirrors and my horn are for!

SUMMARY:

It was a great trip, despite the bad weather on the first day. The trip wasn't long enough, though. Basically we had 1 full day sandwiched between 2 travel days, and I've gotten used to taking much longer trips than that. I can only take so much time in the sun though, but by using more sunscreen I probably could have added a night and I think that would have been enough time at Vero for a Summer trip.

The activities at the resort are non-stop it seems! People can take part or not - it's entirely their choice, and sometimes just watching the kids & other people enjoying an activity can be fun. Today's pie activity was in fact throwing pies at people, lol! The recreation cm's were lots of fun, and when Chris went to get the metal detector he said the cm knew his last name (I guess from previous visits to the window) and that really surprised/impressed him since he hadn't talked to her at all.

The resort is gorgeous, even though the beach is 2nd-rate (in my opinion). I don't come here for the beach, though - I come for the beautiful rooms, great service, nice fellow guests, & terrific pool area. Chris wished there were more teens - last year there were a lot of teens, but this year we were overrun with young kids. However, he spent time with the 2 girls from Scotland and also a boy named Bryce, so he kept busy.

Overall it was a nice, relaxing mini-vacation, and I'm looking forward to more of the same on the cruise ships in August & September! Our next Vero trip will be next Summer, and I'm toying with the idea of making 2 visits next year (July & Labor Day weekend). Some year I do want to rollerblade on that wonderful sidewalk, too!

My next WDW trip will be another short one - 3 nights starting July 21st. We'll finally get to meet Larry from Scotland (RADP) and also our friends Tom & Leanne. It's just over 2 weeks until that trip starts!

DISAPPOINTMENTS:

* The weather the first day was awful for a trip to this resort. When I'm trying to lay by the pool, rain is the last thing I want, and certainly don't want it raining every hour! But, taking trips as often as I do, I have to expect that sooner or later I'll have a day ruined by bad weather. It didn't spoil the trip, by any means, but if it had continued into the next day or 2 then I might have considered the trip ruined.

* Chris was disappointed his kayak trip was canceled, but there's always hope for another year. It sounds like an excellent activity, and I think it's offered on Tuesdays & Thursdays, so we'll have to try to stay over one of those days.

THE MAGICAL MOMENTS :

* The beautiful weather the 2nd day more than made up for the rain & clouds of the first day.

* The overall resort experience here is fantastic, and knowing I'll be back time and time again for the next 42 years is pretty darn magical!

Thanks for reading, and as always - if you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me!

Sue Holland

WDW1972@aol.com


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