Blog,  Parenting,  Travel

The Ultimate Girl’s Trip

On the road again. Getting adults and a toddler packed for some time away from home is a challenge, but one I am willing to take on; for the personal and professional benefits are well worth it for my daughter and me. With the car packed and the little one snug in her car seat, we are off. A great purchase is some sort of DVD/Video Player and some favorite movies. For my daughter, the favorite is Frozen. I signed up for the Disney Movie Club. It was five movies for a dollar and two more for a special price. I walked away with seven movies for the price of one at the store!

We are headed back to Disney for the first part of our road trip. That is far too long for a toddler to be in the car so breaking the trip up was the plan. Our first day I made the longest for two reasons- getting the longest ride behind us and more importantly getting to a beach area. The beach is definitely our happy place. We hadn’t been to the Gulf Port/Biloxi area before so that seemed like a good choice.

We arrived starving at about 7 pm. I’m from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and fresh seafood is a part of my DNA. We’re in a beach town so seafood it was going to be. We pulled into a restaurant next to where we were staying. The restaurant was The Reef. The wait outside was about 30 minutes, not bad for adults but too long for a hungry little one. I opted for a table inside. The menu had a variety of items for seafood and non-seafood lovers. They were accommodating when I ordered the nachos with shrimp. The shrimp included were breaded and fried but they readily changed it to grilled shrimp. I will say, a lot of the seafood items were spicy so it was a burger for my daughter. The food was tasty, however, the service was a little slow and having to wait a long period for boxes and the check after a long ride was not pleasant. Bellies full and check paid, we went next door to check in to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

I am a member of a travel club, so when not doing a media package during my travels, I use my travel clubhouse get the best rates available. Our home for the night was South Beach Biloxi Hotel and Suites. The front desk staff was very accommodating and it was evident that customer service was her priority. We were given a suite with a Gulf view and full kitchen. We were only staying one night so I didn’t make full use of the kitchen. It was to have the full-size refrigerator with a freezer to keep our cold foods and drinks chilled. Also, the range came in handy if only to heat water for my ginger tea as I am not a fan of using the microwave. After a good night’s rest, we went for a walk on the beach. It always amazes me how different areas of the Gulf look so different. Here the water was not so clear with lots of driftwood looking pieces. The sand was still soft and light in color. I always love walking on the beach. It was hard to tear my daughter away from the water however we needed to get on the road to our next location of Panama City where I knew the water would be clearer.

It was about a three and a half hour drive to our location in Panama City. Tonight’s stay was in a two-bedroom condo at Hilton Inn Club Vacations in Panama City. The front desk staff was very courteous, friendly and helpful. They gave me a later check-out so we could spend some time on the beach in the morning. The condo was so nice! Plenty of room to move about. We made better use of the full kitchen to again store the cold items in the full refrigerator/freezer but also used the range to heat up some foods. Having a full kitchen is a real time and money saver for a working mom. There was a whirlpool tub in the master bathroom and a small washer/dryer unit in the secondary bathroom. We made good use of both. Anyone who follows my post knows my happy place is the beach. I love the white sand and clear water of many of the Gulf beaches so I could not wait to get on the sand.

The front desk staff then informed me of the potential presence of the “red tide”. This is not harmful to most people unless you have lung issues. I was not taking any chances with my daughter so we stayed on the sand and in the pool. It looks like a swim in the Gulf is not in the cards this trip. After some play time on the sand, it was a bath in the whirlpool, some dinner and a movie followed by a good night’s sleep. The beds here were so comfortable it was hard to leave them, however, the sand was calling to us. The later check-out gave us some time for beach play and a swim in the pool. We made some lunch, packed the car and we were off again. Next stop Orlando and Disney.

I made reservations through my travel club again. This time the reservation was for a Wyndham property, the Wyndham Cypress Palms in Kissimmee, Florida. This is a great family property. You will not find a pool bar, however, restaurants (there were several in walking distance) will deliver poolside or to your room. The property had that tropical, Florida feels. Palm trees and lush greenery. Our reservation was a one bedroom condo with full kitchen. The bedroom had a very comfortable king bed, large vanity and whirlpool tub. The separate bathroom had a shower. A screened in patio finished our lodging. Another plus for the area is a variety of grocery stores, stocking up the kitchen with easy food preps is both a time and money saver.

This is a working trip so having time to work is difficult with a three-year-old. The Wyndham Cypress Palms has the answer with two pools and an activity center to keep children happy, busy and engaged. Everything from build-a-buddy to glass painting to making travel pillows to name a few of the activities. We also took part in one of the ice cream socials they have on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There is a nominal charge for activities. The pools are both very nice and a real hit for my little fish.

We chose mid-week, Wednesday for our Disney day. Arrived early and went right to my daughter’s favorite ride at Epcot, Frozen. Yes, we had park hopper passes. In my opinion, the best way to go. Brunch with Princesses then onto the Magic Kingdom for my little one’s favorites and some new rides. She was down and out and so was mom about 7 pm so back to Wyndham Cypress Palms we headed. We finished out the week with more activities, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween and of course lots of pool time. This property was very accommodating when there was a problem in our original condo upgrading us to a two bedroom midweek. Overall our week at the Wyndham Cypress Palms was exceptional. I’ll definitely be going back!