This was another "graduation" trip (the England one for Tim, this one for Angie). So shortly after she graduated, Angie, Tim, and Faith (Tim's girlfriend and now wife) took off on another week long adventure. The destination was to be a surprise to Angie, although my sister made the comment to her right before we left, "I can't wait to see your Bahamas pictures." so some of the trip wasn't a surprise.
Originally I booked the trip through a promotion on a post card we got in the mail, then decided I could book basically the same trip for less and i did.
Angie and I got to Orlando a little before Tim and Faith (got them a great deal on Delta and Angie and I flew on AA award travel). By the time I got the car, Tim and Faith had arrived, so we were on our way. First stop was to a 2 bedroom condo near SeaWorld. This was my first time using RCI for nightly stays and it worked out great. The condo was beautiful! The first night was just spent basically aclimating to the area. Angie, Faith and I drove down International Drive while Tim lounged around the condo. We also hit a grocery store for snacks for a few days. Had fast food for dinner and hit the pool and jacuzzi. That took care of the first day.
This day we went to Disney World's Magic Kingdom. We even met up with some Disney addict friends of ours from St. Louis and they gave us a great tour of the place---got us on more rides then we probably could have done ourselves.
It was a great day!
Even got to see the light parade finally.
We had dinner at a Bennigan's. I'm sure the waiter was annoyed at bringing us glass after glass of ice tea, but we were very thirsty after a day in the heat! We got back to the condo about 1am.
Time to check out and head on to our next part of the trip. First we headed down international drive to an outlet mall and shopped a bit, then we headed towards the coast. We drove straight to Cocoa Beach and got our first look at the ocean. We also shopped at the huge Ron Jon Surf Shop there. Then we wanted to get to our next destination (W. Palm Beach) as quickly as we could, so we jumped back on the highway and headed south. There I had reserved a 1 bedroom condo, also through RCI, and it was very nice, too. We immediately went to the beach and checked out the water. It was great. That night, Tim and Faith went off to find dinner by themselves and Angie and I went to a little Italian joint right by the resort. It was very good.
Angie and I went on a boat tour of the million dollar houses along the shore. It was a neat tour. Back by the condo we all played in the ocean for quite awhile. Then went to R J Gators and had another great dinner (even tried alligator).
Time to hit the road again. We turned in the car at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and waited for our flights to Grand Bahamas. Finally it was time. The plane really didn't look that small until we got into it-- 1 seat on each side (3 across the very back), and even I had to bend over to walk down the aisle. The flight was really pleasant. The water was unbelievably blue and green. Once in Grand Bahamas, we waited about an hour for our shuttle to pick us up and take us to Deadman's Reef. I had found this little place after lots of research for a place with great snorkeling right from the beach. There were 2 little villas there and 2 - 1 bedroom condos (2 larger villas were under construction when we were there). I rented us a little 2 bedroom villa for 3 nights. Turned out to be a really neat place. The accommodations weren't fancy, but comfortable for our purposes. The shuttle even stopped at a grocery store on the way to the place and let us pick up some groceries. The villas wasn't quite ready when we got there, so we wandered around the grounds a bit. They even had a pretty good bar b q grill open air restaurant there.
Finally we were able to check into our villa. It even came with board games and free movie videos (the tv didn't have much in the way of reception).
Soon we were out and into the water.
This day we rented snorkel gear and found out it's really easy and so much fun snorkeling with good equipment. So much fun that we all got burnt and couldn't get back in the water the next day! But i loved all the coral and fish. Even prettier then the coral in Hawaii, there I didn't see any fan coral or brain coral. Loved all the colorful fish, too. After 7 hours of snorkeling, I was extremely ill that night from severe sunburn (even though I did use sunscreen). Never got that sick from a burn before! Had me rather worried with the severe pain and chills. Finally I took 4 ibuprofen and laid down awhile. That helped. I managed to get up and make pancakes for dinner. We all got burnt, but we all would love to go back! After 5pm, the beach was ours. But sand mites where bad, so when darkness set in, we stayed in and watched videos.
Since we were all too burnt to enjoy the water again, we used the shuttle to head into Freeport. The owners of the place we stayed at ran a business where they brought people to the beach for the day and their shuttle ran back and forth to Freeport and the cruise ship port until about 5. The kids were excited about being old enough to go to the casino and gamble, so we each spent about $20 (except Angie who won about $10). We also shopped the mall and marketplace. Tim and Faith went back to the cove while Angie and I went to dinner then caught the last shuttle back to the cove.
It was time to get up and get to the airport, again. We flew back to Ft. Lauderdale and waited for our respective flights---Tim and Faith on Delta and Angie and me on AA. Much to our surprise, Tim and Faith ended up on our flight! Their connection was going to be missed in Atlanta, so they were sent to our flight and got there with about a minute to spare. Their luggage was even on our flight.
Another trip I will cherish with the kids. I had a great time! Hopefully they remember it fondly, too.