WE MADE IT TO FLORIDA!
We had a good stay at the St. Augustine Doubletree. As a Hilton Diamond member (another good reason to get status) we got a free breakfast buffet. They were so great to make us up a bag of breakfast foods to go and we ate it on the tour. The hotel recommended the Ripley’s Red Train Tour and within two minutes a shuttle driver picked us up and took us to the depot. The tour is $20.99 for adults and $8.99 for children 5-11. If you buy a combination ticket with Ripley’s and/or mini-golf it’s cheaper. I bought a combo for all three and they threw in Ellie’s tickets for all three free. IF I HAD TO DO OVER, I would have booked their competitor, Old Town trolley Tours (sometimes I had to wait 30 min for a trolley 😟with Ripley’s Red Train).
It’s about a 90-minute tour of the old town area (SO BEAUTIFUL) and you can hop on and off as you please. That’s perfect – especially with a child. We got off at the marina to play mini-golf. It was really hot so we kinda pushed through. I would recommend playing in the evening – it’s a great spot by the water.
We got back on and rode to the Castillo San Marcos, a national park situated along the waterfront as well. It’s a beautiful vista from the top and I think a must-see on your next visit. There is a public parking lot in front for $1.50 and hour but spots are sometimes hard to come by. We got in the castle with our national park pass (if you are military you can get a free 1 year pass to all national parks).
Did you know that if you have a 4th grader you can get in free as well! This year there’s a special program for the 2015-2016 school year called “Every Kid in a Park“. It’s an initiative by the National Park Service to give all 4th graders and their families free admission to all fee collecting parks, lands and waters. PRETTY COOL! If you don’t fit one of these “categories” the entry fee is $10 for everyone 16 and over, everyone 15 or under is free.
We had a nice tour of the castle then grabbed the train to Ripley’s Believe it or Not (it didn’t actually stop there but we jumped off at light). We weren’t in there 2 minutes when Ellie freaked out – she hated it. A worker walked us through the shortest way and refunded our money (that was nice). Maybe it’s not good for small children.
We had a big morning and decided to grab some pizza for the drive to Orlando. It was getting late in the afternoon and I thought traffic might be bad – I was right. There was an accident on I-4 and what should have taken us little over 2 hours took 3 😳. To get to the resort area you go through the downtown area – avoid it at all costs during rush hour.
We stayed at the Windsor Hills Resort in Kissimmee – 2 miles from Magic Kingdom. I HIGHLY recommend this Resort because it has it all and it is a nice break from the craziness of staying on property at Disney. You can also get good deals – about $100 a night for 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo. The resort has tennis, large pool, jacuzzi, waterslide, movie theater, game room, volleyball, basketball, playgrounds, and a great workout room. The best part is that it’s all enclosed with a guarded gate. FULL DISCLOSURE – we own a condo here, so if you want to rent a place here let us know!
Slept like a baby…