Dec
5
2022

Day 11 – Fun at Volcano Bay

We had a pretty good nights sleep, especially Christy who had only slept for one hour on the flight over. I woke around 4am, read for a bit and then sat at the desk to write up a blog post. Sadly no tea this morning.

View from our room

We ended up setting out around 10am, walking around (the long way) to where the shuttle stop was. Amazingly the bus arrived at the very same time we did.

A short 5 min ride later and we were dropped off near Volcano Bay – though it’s still a bit of walk to get to the main entrance.

We scanned our tickets and made our way inside. Since this is a new park for us we had no idea where anything was and I didn’t see any paper maps available (I think you might have had to ask for them). I vaguely remember reading to head right so that’s what we did, hiring some towels along the way.

Sadly the big wave pool is closed due to refurb. But happily the park was fairly empty and quiet today (though that did mean that a lot of food places were closed). We found a nice little quiet spot with 3 sun lounges and an umbrella and claimed those before heading out to do our first ride – Krakatao.

Luckily this doesn’t have a big flight of stairs to climb and the wait was fairly short. And it was such a fun ride – a hydro coaster. We all really enjoyed it.

We then thought we’d best have something to eat for breakfast. There wasn’t a lot to be found but I did get a veggie wrap – which actually turned out to be rather delicious. Kevin had some sushi.

After eating we headed for the Winding river, more commonly known as the lazy river. I started off without a float but eventually found a spot where I thought I’d be able to get on it – only to have a spectacular and rather funny fail. I even made the life guard laugh :-). Luckily I was more successful of my second attempt.

We then did two nice and relaxing trips around – though this actually does move fairly fast for a lazy river.

From here we moved on the Fearless River. You have a wear a lifejacket here and it quickly become evident why when you realize just how fast this moves you. It’s so fun.

We did two laps before getting out and trying to find the volcano walk through. We think we found it but it wasn’t quite what I remember seeing in vlogs.

We then headed back to our lounges for a little rest. Kevin and I were getting hungry again by now so went in search of some different food. After a whole lap around the park, we ended up back where we’d gotten breakfast from. This time Kevin & I got a cheese pizza to share and Christy got some hot chips. Kevin also filled up his refillable drink cup with an icee.

We laid back and enjoyed our lunch for a while and then went for a repeat of the Winding and Fearless River before one last ride on Krakatoa. Such fun. There were LOTS more slides at the park but Kevin and I still don’t have a lot of energy post covid so knew we wouldn’t manage walking up countless flights of stairs. About 4pm we decided we’d had enough and we all agreed it was a wonderful relaxing day to start our holiday in Orlando.

We walked back to the bus stop and caught the bus the short trip back to the hotel. I then ordered some groceries from Instacart. Christy decided to head to the park for a couple of hours. Our groceries were pretty quick to arrive so after putting them away it was time for Kevin & I to go dinner.

I had made a reservation at Islands Dining Room to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary – which is tomorrow. The place was rather quiet, which was actually very nice.

Kevin had a salad, while I had the Tofu & Brocolli Lo Mein. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Kevin also enjoyed a Strawberry cocktail. We had a lovely time chatting and eating. We don’t often dine out like this so it was a real treat.

After dinner we stopped to take a photo by the Christmas Tree (this is a different one to the lobby tree).

We then had a quick look in the shop before heading back to the room. When we walked in I was surprised to find a light that had been on was now off. Then I realized Christy was in her bed. She hadn’t had such a great night as after walking there she only had time for one ride before the park closed and she had to walk back. Kevin thought the park closed at 8pm, but it closed at 7pm. Poor Moo.

In bed, I stayed up to write this blog post since we have an early start in the morning. I then read a little before going to sleep.

Dec
4
2022

Day 10 – Meeting Christy in Orlando

It was a rather early start to the day. With the alarm set for 4am, I awoke not long after 3am – only to find Kevin awake, only having had around an hours sleep all night !! At least this meant we had time for a cup of tea before getting up and ready for the day.

At 4.30am we headed downstairs to get an uber to the airport.

The airport was surprisingly busy (I’m sure it wasn’t this busy last time we had an early morning flight from Vegas). We used the first class counter for American Airlines to check in and drop off our luggage. Unfortunately we weren’t given seats together, but we hoped to rectify that once onboard.

We then went upstairs to the security line. I had organised for TSA care assist but when we asked someone about it, and showed them the paperwork, they didn’t know what I was talking about but said to use the wheelchair access lane. But when we got there we realized we could just use the first class line.

That done we headed towards the gate and in search of something for breakfast (for myself). We ended up at Cinnabon where I got a cheese toastie and Kevin got an iced coffee and some Cinnabites – which he really enjoyed. My toastie was pretty good as well.

Finally it was time to board our plane. We had treated ourselves to First Class on the flights today, which was a very nice indulgence. And we didn’t even have to ask someone to swap seats as a guy offered as soon as he realized we were together.

Goodbye Las Vegas. It’s not been fun, but we will be back

This was a really nice flight. Kevin got served a nice breakfast. As suspected – there was no vegan offering (which was why I’d already eaten). I wrote up a blog post, edited some video and then spent some time reading . The flight was about 3.5 hours and past really quickly.

We arrived into a wet and drizzly Charlotte, North Carolina around 1pm (their time). It was a super busy airport, yet quite a stunning one, with two huge reindeers and rocking chairs to relax in, in the main hub

We picked up some drinks at Starbucks which we had while waiting for our plane to arrive. Unfortunetely they made both of us unfeel unwell. Guess I should have gone with the dragon drink rather than the Green Tea Frappacino. I also picked up a salad and ranch wrap which I ate once we boarded the plane.

We had about 1.5 hours here I think, then we were setting off for Olando. We also weren’t sitting together her – but neither was another couple and a father & daughter so we all moved around to suit ourselves. Such a crazy system not to sit families together !!

Funnily enough Christy’s plane ended up running a bit late and landed just after ours did.

Her flight left late because of an argument between her next seat neighbour and the people in front (before they’d even taken off). Christy got all upset (worried she was going to get in trouble) and they moved everyones seats around (on a full flight) before they could take off.

Once we got off the plane, Kevin went to the bathroom and I could see from find my friends that Christy was close by so we waited for her to walk in our direction. She only spotted us at the very last minute.

The airport was crazy busy. We have never seen MCO so busy. It was madness. We made our way to the first ride of the trip – the monorail. Then over to the baggage claim.

Once we battled the crowds and had our luggage, we made our way to the carpark to collect our Turo car (like airbnb for cars). Once Kevin worked out how to fit all our luggage in – let’s just say Christy was a little bit squashed in the back seat – we were on way to Universal. And just in time for a stunning unset (which we spotted from the carpark).

Kevin was tired but it wasn’t long before he was comfortable driving (once again) on the other side of the road). But with his recent eye surgery he was glad most of the trip was made before it got totally dark.

Around 6pm we pulled up to the Royal Pacific Resort, unloaded our bags and waited while Kevin went to self park the car. We aren’t sure how but on his way back he ended up walking through the luau :-).

He seemed to be gone a long while but once he got back we entered to lobby to find a big gorgeous Christmas tree, then went to get checked in. Thankfully there was ZERO wait (unlike the 2 hour wait at the Rio !!)

After getting our room keys we stopped in to pick up our park tickets. Then it was on to our room. It’s about as far away from the lobby as you can get but it’s not too far. The room is lovely, though will be a little cramped for the 3 of us. Luckily it is just for a few days.

Our room overlooks the pool, which is nice at night and will be even nicer in the daytime I’m sure. We unpacked, somewhat anyway, so we aren’t living out of suitcases, and Kevin & Christy had a rest/lie down. By 7pm I was getting pretty hungry (meals had been light and all over the place today – I wasn’t even sure what time it was in Vegas).

We went to the Tuk Tuk market but they didn’t have as many options as I thought they did. Still I managed to get some rice and veggies and Kevin got some chicken nuggets. My dinner was okay – I wasn’t a real fan of the veggies (they had just been sitting waiting for someone to buy them) but I ate enough to satisfy my hunger. Kevin found his nuggets to be rather dry. We then settled into bed and were asleep around 9pm after what has seemed to be a rather long day.

Dec
4
2022

Day 9 – A visit to Town Square

Woke up after sunrise again and we had a lazy relaxed morning. I’m still stuffy in the nose and Kevin was mainly tired and stuffy. Overall he was feeling much better today. Kevin had some overnight oats that I’d bought for myself, while I had the last of the pita breads with some vegan cream cheese and greens for breakfast. I edited Document your Life and wrote up a blog post. Kevin napped.

Around 1.30pm we headed out in an uber to Town Square. We got dropped at Sweet Bubbles – oh the smell when you walk into that store. It’s just delicious. We had a look around and bought some things (including a few things for Christy). 

We then went over to guest services to collect a $20 gift card (for spending over $100) and $10 card (for using uber to get there). I love this shopping centre. It’s lovely and relaxing and decorated beautifully for Christmas. We only ever saw it lit up at night on our first visit here but I still remember how lovely it was.

We looked at going to the Marlin Bar (at Tommy Bahamas for lunch) but decided on Rakaan Ramen (which I already knew had vegan options. Kevin ordered a Crispy Chicken Bowl, while I got the Garnet Vegan Ramen. We both really enjoyed our meals. Best of all we used our $20 pay for our lunch. It turned out we didn’t pay a tip so Kevin left the $10 card as the tip.

I then had a quick look in Torrid for some things that Athena wanted, before we went into Bath & Body Work. It was busy in there as the 3 wick candles were on sale. We just bought some hand sanitisers and some gifts for the kids stockings.

I had a super quick wander through Ulta but couldn’t find what I wanted and didn’t want to ask. We’d had enough shopping after just the few shops. I few that we used to visit are no longer here. So we order another Uber for the ride back to the Wyndham. It’s been such a strange visit to Vegas and I’m kinda sad that we’re leaving as I’m finally feeling ready to visit and do our planned outings. Oh well, next time…

Back in our room it was time to start packing. We haven’t bought a lot but I still had to be strategic to fit everything in, without going into the spare suitcase yet.

When I was done it was time for a cup of tea and to watch some YouTube. We probably won’t get much watched now as we move into the busier part of the holiday. Spare time will be spent blogging, reading and being immersed in the holidays (well that’s the plan). Watching YouTube, or any TV in fact, on holidays is something we’ve only started doing in the last few years.

Around 6pm I went to have a shower and wash my hair, so I didn’t have to do that early in the morning. Dinner tonight was General Tso’s Tofu & rice from the freezer. Another yummy meal. We then watched a bit more YouTube before attending to some more packing. All that is left now is a few last minute things.

We went to be early as Kevin planned to go to sleep early since we had to be up at 4am. I wasn’t too worried as that’s a pretty normal wake up time for me anyway. Of course, Kevin couldn’t sleep. I read for a bit while I enjoyed a cup of tea and went to sleep around 9.30pm.

Dec
3
2022

Day 9 – A little peak at the Venetian

I was up before the sun again today. Feel like I’ve just got a head cold now.

While writing up yesterdays blog post I got to enjoy a very nice sunrise, even though it was just 2C outside !!! Glad I didn’t have to head outside too early!

There was no need to rush as we only planned to be out for a few hours – depending on how we were feeling. We even ate breakfast at the table today – first time all week. Kevin had the acai bowl I’d bought to have, while I really enjoyed the Amy’s tofu scramble (will definitely be having this again while we’re at Disney).

Shortly after 9.30am we headed downstairs and got an uber over to the Venetian (where Kevin’s conference was being (mainly) held). For the first time we had an uber driver who requested our bags we stowed in the boot. I thought this was very odd until we discovered he was a African American male. I suspected it was because of potential violence from passengers so asked him, and yep, it’s for his personal safety. Which is just so sad that someone has to consider this because of the colour of their skin. And the prevalence of guns in the country. As an Australian it’s very odd (and somewhat scary) to realize that some of the people around you would be carrying guns that you can not see.

It was nice to step back into the Venetian – it was the place we stayed when Kevin started coming to the AWS conference back in 2017. I’d also forgotten that the newer/better casinos have good ventilation and you can’t smell the cigarette smoke like we could at the Rio.

We headed to the AWS registration area so Kevin could register, even though he wasn’t attending any events, so he could pick up his swag. I felt bad for him because he’d been really looking forward to the conference and being here surrounded by people attending must have reminded him what he missed out on.

We then had a little wander around, stopping to take some photographs.

We briefly stopped into Sketchers and Tommy Bahamas but Kevin started to not feel so great so we gave up on shopping, and headed out onto the strip for a quick drop in to Walgreens.

It was really quiet out – Vegas must still be missing the international tourists. We walked around to the back of Harrah’s, where the nearest uber pick up was. Loved the little dog toilet area they have.

It took our Uber some time to find the right spot but eventually we were on our way to Target. We had a lovely driver and she was telling us how she was taking her 7 year old on a surprise trip to Disneyland for Christmas – all paid for with her Uber driving income.

We had planned to stop in at Starbucks for a drink and rest but there wasn’t one at this Target. It was also super quiet – not used to shopping in Target when it’s so quiet. We were definitely at one the locals shop at. Unfortunately Kevin started to feel very unwell again while we were here so we had to cut our visit a bit short. Not sure if it was still the effects of Covid or something else (he has a few undiagosed issues). We got checked out and waited outside for our uber. Kevin felt a good bit better after sitting outside in the fresh air for a bit.

We spent the afternoon back in our apartment. For lunch Kevin cooked us the Gardein Mandarin Chick’n, which is one of our fav meals.

We watched some youtube, did some reading, had a nice relaxing bath, and later watched Falling for Christmas. Not the best movie but it was okay. Kevin wasn’t feeling like dinner so I put together a little plate of nachos using corn chips, the vegan queso, and some diced tomato and greens.

We are both feeling a little frustrated at such a slow recovery. I’m mainly dealing with blocked, runny nose, which Kevin is still getting bad headaches and some body pains, along with a stuffy nose and sore throat. We both also got tired very quickly yesterday. It’s not looking too good for Universal but we had planned on a SLOW holiday anyway – we’ll just have to go even slower :-).