Sue Holland -- March 2006 - Hilton Head (DVC)
Dates: March 3-5, 2006
This will be a whirlwind trip down the east coast of the United States, with stops at 2 DVC resorts along the way. SB had been working up north and finished up earlier this week. He thought it would be fun for me to fly up and join him for the drive home (yes, 20 hours in a car sure sounds like my kind of fun, lol). We decided to do it, but add some fun to break up the driving.
Friday I’ll fly to Washington DC, where he’ll pick me up when my flight gets in at 6pm. We originally had booked the Hampton Inn at the airport, but this week decided to get some of the driving out of the way so the next day we could enjoy our destination. We’ll drive to Lumberton, North Carolina and spend the night at a Hampton Inn there. Saturday morning we’ll have less than 4 hours to travel, enjoying Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. He’s never been there, so I’m looking forward to showing it to him. We haven’t made any plans other than dinner at Big Bamboo Café and enjoying the evening in our studio. Sunday morning we’ll hit the road very early, hoping to arrive at WDW by noon so we have a chance at getting fastpasses for Soarin (his favorite attraction). We’ll be staying at Boardwalk Villas, eating at 50’s Prime Time Café, and attending Comedy Warehouse shows at night. Monday morning we’ll be on the road early again (by 5am) to get me to work on time in Ft Myers. He gets to go home to unpack & relax – doesn’t seem fair to me, lol!
The plans so far are:
Friday 3/3: Work, Fly to Washington DC, Drive to Lumberton (North Carolina)
DAY 1 – Friday 3/3/06
Who: Sue (47), DVC member
Actual: There really wasn’t anything Disney or DVC this day. My flight landed about 15 minutes early in Washington DC, and SB met me at the airport. Traffic was a nightmare for quite a while – we lost a lot of time in Virginia. It was after midnight before we arrived in Lumberton, NC. We checked into the Hampton Inn there (very decent place) and settled in for the night.
DAY 2 – Saturday 3/4/06
Who: Sue (47), DVC member
Actual: I’d set the alarm for 7 and got up to take my shower then. SB was up once I finished showering, and we were out of there by 7:45. Instead of eating at the complimentary breakfast at the hotel we decided to go elsewhere (there was nothing wrong with it – we just wanted something different). He suggested the Waffle House, which I nixed because I was afraid here in tobacco country it would smell like an ashtray. We went to Denny’s, where we had to wait to be seated while the employee very leisurely got HER morning coffee and then strolled over (as slow as molasses) to take care of us and the couple ahead of us. Once we were seated SB noticed that most of the tables had no food, and it looked like only 2 servers were working. A huge (multi-table) group came in just behind us. It looked pretty evident the restaurant was running way behind the acceptable wait times, so we left.
After some discussion/disagreement we decided to try Waffle House, and I was pleased to see they had a no-smoking section and it didn’t appear that anyone anywhere in there was smoking. We were seated right away, and our server was extremely prompt & efficient. I got the pecan waffle; he got the eggs & sausage breakfast. Everything was very good, and so inexpensive! We finished up there and got back on the highway to Hilton Head.
We arrived at the resort sometime around 12:30 or so. He played pool while I checked in, and our studio was ready. We were in Live Oak Lodge, room #1125. That’s on the 2nd floor, and from the balcony you can see the marsh if you look to the right. We settled in a bit, then walked through the resort. I wanted him to see it, hoping he’d want to come back. He liked the place, but prefers WDW. At the store we saw Gordon and visited with him, then picked up a dvd to watch later. We got the car and drove to the beach house, which is closing for rehab tomorrow. At Signals we shared a delicious hot dog with great fries. SB got a beer and I had some wine. If the wind hadn’t been blowing so hard it would have been nice outside, but we ate inside. Everything was very good, and from our table we had a great view of the pretty beach here.
After leaving the beach house we stopped at Piggly Wiggly to get some powerball tickets, then returned to the studio. I got online, while he went through the mail that had come while he was away (I’d brought it with me). We thought about doing the resort nature walk at 3, but decided to just stay in after all. Right around then there was a knock at the door – a cast member was delivering a plate of mickey-shaped cranberry walnut cookies from Gordon. He included a note saying he didn’t forget my favorite, lol! Actually, I’d forgotten all about those cookies, but probably would have remembered them on the way to WDW tomorrow! SB tried one, and couldn’t believe how good they are! He went on & on raving about those cookies
Around 5:30 we drove down to Coligney to find the Big Bamboo Café. They’ve changed the traffic circle somewhat, so you have to enter in the proper lane. We of course did not, so we had to turn around, lol. I was surprised that Big Bamboo was pretty busy – the bar was full and several tables in the restaurant were occupied. Service was very prompt – it’s always been good here. We were in time for the early bird dinners but decided to eat off the regular menu. I was not really that hungry, and just ordered a glass of pinot grigio and the French onion soup. SB got iced tea, grouper fingers appetizer, and the fish & chips dinner. He said the iced tea was the best he’s tasted, and they must have refilled his glass around 5-6 times! His food was good too – but not spectacular. I really liked the cole slaw and the French fries on his plate, and was only able to eat half my soup since I was picking from his plate too much. We were both full when we left.
We’d planned to see a movie, but it was too early to go to the theater just yet. We went back to the studio and ended up not leaving the rest of the night. We tried watching the dvd we’d gotten at the store (Lady Killers) but had trouble getting the dvd player to work. After many attempts I called the front desk, where they tried to talk me through it. It still didn’t work, so she said the engineer was on her way up. Yikes – I quickly threw on some shorts & shirt, while he got under the covers and pretended to be asleep
I fell asleep fairly early – worn out by the traveling I guess. I loved being back at Hilton Head, and having him there. He thinks it’s a really pretty place, but he’d rather vacation at WDW where there’s more to do (laying by the pool and riding bikes is my thing – not his). The highlight today was Gordon’s cookies
DAY 3 – Sunday 3/5/06
Who: Sue (47), DVC member
Actual: I’d set the alarm for 5 and got up to take my shower then. Since it was so early I went downstairs to check out while he was in the shower, and we were on the road at 6 as planned. Once we got into Georgia we stopped for gas and breakfast from McDonald’s. It’s not a healthy breakfast, but on a trip like this it just tastes so good! I got a sausage, egg & cheese biscuit, while he got the sausage egg mcmuffin.
We had no significant traffic and arrived at the Boardwalk shortly after 11. There was a short wait to check in, and the studio was not ready. We left our bags with bell services and headed to the dock for the boat to Epcot. Epcot wasn’t busy at all, and we made good time walking over to Soarin. We picked up fastpasses with a return time of 2:45, then wandered out to World Showcase in search of a snack. We started in Mexico, thinking he’d get some food there but the lines were ridiculous. In Germany I got a glass of wine, which I brought with us to America. SB got a beer and a turkey leg, and joined me at a table in the shade. It was really pleasant out there, just relaxing and spending time together. When we finished we walked the rest of the way around World Showcase, stopping in France to watch the guy climb up the stack of chairs. We then left Epcot and rode the boat back to the Boardwalk, thinking we’d have a drink at the Bellevue Lounge while waiting for the room to be ready.
Once we got there we found it didn’t open until 5pm, so we sat in the lobby for a while and then went out to Leaping Horse Libations at the Luna Park pool. SB was happy – some sports game was on the tv there
The room still wasn’t ready, so we caught the next boat back to Epcot and went to Soarin to ride with our fastpasses. It was terrific, as usual! I called the resort again and this time the studio was ready, so we rode back to the Boardwalk. After getting our bags from bell services we began the 7-mile walk to room 4018. It’s a pretty studio – SB likes the room a lot – but it was way on the other side of Luna Park pool. Thank goodness we’re not spending a week here!
We got settled in, and relaxed in the room for the rest of the afternoon. We saw on the tv that a friend/co-worker of SB’s had suffered a serious stroke, and hoped he would pull through (he passed away Monday). People younger than us aren’t supposed to die from a stroke! Around 5:30 we went down to ESPN Club for dinner. I’d never eaten in there, but the menu looked pretty decent (for casual sports bar food). There was no wait, but you have to stand at a roped off entry and wait for the cast member to “let” you in – I thought that was a bit much, lol! We were seated by the window in the dining area and I was surprised by how noisy it was inside. Evidently it’s just like the noisy Planet Hollywood or Hard Rock Café, only about sports. It wasn’t relaxing to me at all, and it’s not someplace I need to visit again. I don’t mind the sports stuff or the many tv monitors, but the noise I can live without.
Our waitress was an odd bird – never cracked a smile until the very end, and we think she was from one of those eastern bloc countries where women are dour faced and just look like they’re having a miserable life. She did a decent job in terms of serving, but it wasn’t like we were at Disney at all. I had the chili, which is made with steak, ground beef but no beans (I hate beans). SB got the chili and the burger. The chili was really good, and the burger was just ok. Maybe if he didn’t order burgers well done they’d have a better chance at having some flavor, lol!
We returned to the room, and SB wasn’t really feeling well. Perhaps it was the chili, but I was fine. We laid down for a while, and when it was time to head to Comedy Warehouse I left him in bed and went to meet Leesa. He was sorry to miss it, but just didn’t feel up to it. I drove over to Downtown Disney and found the parking lot completely full. After circling a couple times, I moved down to another parking lot and found a spot. I don’t understand why Sundays are such a problem here, especially when the Island itself is deserted! It’s like people come to drop their cars off here and go elsewhere or something!
I met Leesa inside the Adventurer’s Club and soon it was time to head over to the REAL attraction (sorry Adv Club fans – that place just does nothing for me). Jamie was on the keys, and the 8pm cast was Philip, Jake, John, Robby & Lisa. Robby & Philip created a scene set in a health club, where Philip was a guy everyone thought had died but really he’d just lost 200 pounds. Lisa came in as his former girlfriend, and Jake looked hysterical as her girlfriend. The scene was interrupted 3 times for them to create songs – they did “Does Doreen Know You’re Back” as classic rock, “He Died” as jazz, and “You Feel Good” as ska.
They did a very good career day, where the actors represent the worst examples of several occupations suggested by the audience. Scene Freeze was next, with Lisa having office, Jake having fart, Robby having carousel and John having Succasonna (a small town mentioned in the phone interview). Overall it was a good show, and I wished SB had felt well enough to be there. I decided to head back to the resort instead of staying for a 2nd show, and found him feeling better after taking a shower. We spent the rest of the night in the studio, mostly watching the Academy Awards on tv. Monday morning we were on the road by 5am, and I was to work on time just before 8.
It was a great but too-short trip, and it was somewhat exhausting doing all that driving (or in my case – riding) in one weekend. Thank heavens for DVC – we were able to stay in beautiful resorts with no cash outlay rather than spend $100/night for some decent highway hotel each night. I’d love to get him back to Hilton Head, but unless he suddenly starts wanting to ride a bicycle and lay by the pool I think I’d better figure out when to make a short solo trip there – I can always coordinate it for when other friends will be there if I don’t want to be entirely solo. Boardwalk Villas was nice, except the walk to the room was ridiculously long. I’ll be there for 4 nights in late May, but in a boardwalk view studio this time so the walk can’t be quite as long!
My next trip is just a solo 3-night weekend in late April, followed by 4-night holiday weekends in May and September (also solo). It’ll actually be nice to just be home for a while, so until late April – thanks for reading!