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Thread: Sue Rayford, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, May 5-10, 2021

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    Sue Rayford, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, May 5-10, 2021

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson
    Dates: May 5 10, 2021
    Resort: Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 24th stay at Hilton Head

    INTRODUCTION:
    We all missed Hilton Head in May 2020, and I think Pete & Judys last trip was in 2018. Pete & Judy are both retired now, so theyll extend their trip with a few days in Savannah before flying back to NJ. Theyre flying into Savannah, arriving just after noon on Wednesday. Chris family booked a room in southern Georgia for the night before arrival, so they wont have an all-day trip on Wednesday. Originally it was only going to be Chris & Ari, and they would have come up and spent the night with us on Tuesday, then wed ride up in my car. When Amanda was able to get the time off, that plan no longer worked since 5 of us and all our stuff wasnt going to fit into 1 car! Besides our stuff, were bringing a beach umbrella for the sun-sensitive, and chairs for Pete, Judy, and Chris or Amanda (plus our chairs). Also, I have 2 coolers one to bring to the beach, and the other with a couple bottles of wine and some food were bringing with us.

    I booked a 2-bedroom villa for our family, and Pete & Judy will be in their own 1-bedroom villa. Thanks to no trips last year, they had the points to get the villa rather than a studio. Our priorities are the beach and the Serg restaurants so many great ones, so little time. Amanda is hoping to do many of the resort activities with Ari, as he loves that kind of stuff. The weather should be warm enough for the beach but not too hot or humid, which is ideal!

    We all look forward to our favorite restaurants. SB, Pete, Judy & I are big on the Serg happy hours. Last trip it was a little bit of a challenge since happy hour starts before Ari was ready to have dinner. Hopefully now that hes almost 5 rather than almost 3, that wont be an issue. Being such a large group will be a challenge no way around that. All the more reason to show up at the start of happy hour, or risk not finding a table(s) to accommodate the group of 7.

    Our tradition on the first night is Poseidon, and Pete & Judy are already talking about that. Other than that, Im not sure which Serg restaurants well get to enjoy, as 5 nights isnt enough to hit all the ones we love. I know Amanda feels strongly about Frankie Bones, and I agree. Its not scenic, but the food is excellent hopefully we can do a late lunch there. Skull Creek Dockside in my opinion is a step above Skull Creek Boathouse next door, and Pete & Judy havent been there so we definitely need to hit that for happy hour outside (omigod bacon hushpuppies are soooo good).

    Season starts here on Memorial Day weekend, so were beating the big crowds, which is one of the reasons for coming in early May. The other is the humidity usually settles in by that weekend, and then its just miserable. I expect to sweat to death at home in FL I wont use vacation time and money to do the same thing here!

    Pete & Judy are flying, but were driving, so it made sense for us to bring extra beach chairs. I bring my chaise lounge, but the others prefer those chairs in a bag, where youre just sitting up. I bought a couple extra last month, so were bringing 4 of those. I also have a nice beach umbrella weve never used, so well bring that. The lifeguards have a tool to use to get it into the sand, so no need to bring the mallet!

    Theres a beautiful Kroger (grocery store) practically next door, so theres no need to bring everything from home. However, with just the 2 of us in the car well bring some stuff, including the large cooler. My friend Holli & I loved the cheese section in Kroger last December, and no doubt well be coming home with several cheeses for her and several for me. Non-perishable stuff that we know one of us will use we might as well bring with us, especially if we can pick it up on sale from our local Publix before the trip.

    Most likely each day my villas people will have breakfast in the villa before heading to the beach. Chris family may head back to the resort earlier than me, depending on the resort activities that day. I doubt Ari will still be napping if daycare/preschool still does it, he might. I enjoy a little down time in the afternoon showering and relaxing online, before happy hour. Lunch isnt a priority for me, but for those who want to eat theres Signals at the beach house, Tide me Over at the resort, or the villas refrigerator. Im not sure what the evenings will bring resort activities or hanging out maybe. Weve done the sunset dolphin cruise with Pete & Judy, but could consider repeating that if everyone wants to do it. We did the comedy magic cabaret with Pete & Judy that was fun, but I have no idea if they want to repeat it. Ari wouldnt be able to attend though. They allow well-behaved teens, but Ari couldnt pass for a teen yet even though he got to engaged to my friend Holli (with a play doh ring) at the Treehouse Villas recently.


    The plans so far are:
    Wednesday 5/5: Drive to HHI, Poseidon
    Thursday 5/6: Beach, Dockside?
    Friday 5/7: Beach, Frankie Bones?
    Saturday 5/8: Beach, any Serg
    Sunday 5/9: Beach, any Serg
    Monday 5/10: Hilton Head Diner, Drive to Gainesville


    DAY 1 Wednesday 5/5/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Drive to HHI, Poseidon

    Actual: This morning SB had a 7:30 appointment for labwork, and although Id planned on leaving for Hilton Head somewhere between 9 & 10, he was antsy and ready to go right away. Hed packed up all his stuff, too. So, in the interest of compromise, I suggested we leave around 8:30. Were most likely going to be sitting around up there waiting for the villa to be ready, but well just have to deal with it.

    We ended up leaving by 8, and stopped at Waffle House for breakfast about an hour away. Breakfast was quick and tasty, and we were back on the road. We made one more stop for a Frosty for SB he was craving ice cream and thats not easy to find just after breakfast <g>. We pulled into Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort right around 12:30. Chris family stopped in Savannah for an early lunch somewhere and arrived around 1:30. Pete & Judy arrived by 2, and their friggin room was ready!

    Pete & Judy were hungry so we walked over to Tide Me Over and they shared a chicken & waffles meal. Its so disappointing to still see there are no tables or barstools out there you get your food and then have to go downstairs or inside the ugly Community Hall to eat. They limit capacity at the Mercantile, so some of us had to wait to go inside. Also, on the way out we saw the pool was at capacity, so people have to wait for that too! Amanda was disappointed in that, since afternoon is a good time for Ari to use the pool (morning is beach time).

    The chicken & waffles looked pretty good, and SB bought beers for the guys (at the Mercantile). Judy picked up a glass of wine in there (small plastic bottle). We caught up while they ate, and finally I got our room ready text. I did get the top floor, but no marsh view & not in the location I prefer. But, well deal with it.

    We left Community Hall and moved the cars and then dragged everything upstairs to the villa. Unpacking actually went quickly. I called housekeeping for extra blankets, and around 3:30 checked in with Pete & Judy. Theyd just come back from Kroger, and said their room stinks of cigarette smoke (this is a no-smoking resort). He asked what to do and I suggested he physically walk down to the front desk and tell them he expects them to make this right by the time he gets back from dinner. Maybe they can get an air scrubber or something in there to clear the stench out. The resorts sold out, so moving isnt likely.

    Chris, Amanda, Ari, SB & I headed over to Poseidon around 4. The happy hour is only at the bar (which was pretty much full) and at the 4-5 high-top tables next to the bar. Fortunately, 2 tables were empty and we were able to push them together to make a table to fit all of us. We ordered drinks, and Chris ordered the pimento cheese as an appetizer. They also ordered Aris kids meal as well (mac & cheese). By the time the food arrived Pete & Judy had joined us.

    We had a great time, and mostly everyone had happy hour food. Amanda got the spicy chicken sliders, forgetting how extremely spicy they are. Chris, Pete & SB each got the shrimp salad BLT sliders, and SB also added the hush puppies w/honey butter and a cup of New England clam chowder. Judy got mussels, and I had the pimento cheese. It was all excellent! However, checking out both Amanda & I couldnt get the Serg app to recognize our check. After sending the manager over she eventually found out it was currently not working for any of the locations. She took our names and phone numbers to manually add the points to our loyalty thing and said it should be there in a few days.

    After eating Chris & SB took Ari over to the park and SB let Ari hit some baseballs while Chris fielded. Baseball is one of the sports Ari is involved in, and he seems to be good at any sport he tries. Pete & Judy headed back to the resort after Poseidon and the rest of us went to Kroger to buy groceries for the trip. Kroger was quite busy, but the whole island is a lot busier than it was last December. Its nothing compared to the mob scene it will be in a few weeks though.

    We bought our groceries and headed back to the resort, where we used a cart to bring it all over to the villa in one trip. Amanda & I went over to the pool area to get a movie for Ari and we picked up pool towels for everyone to use at the beach tomorrow. When we came back SB was laying in the bedroom watching CNN or something on the tv and the rest of us sat out in the living room area. Ari was the least tired of all of us frankly I couldnt wait for bedtime so the day could come to a close <g>.

    Today other than having to wait 2 hours after arrival for the room to be ready, it was a great day. Its very disappointing about Pete & Judys room I would not be happy!!! The resort said theyre doing the best we can but thats bullcrap. The housekeeper should have noticed the disgusting smoke and alerted people so the previous guests were contacted & fined. Id be willing to bet none of that ever happened.

    Tomorrow were headed to the beach in the morning! After that if we want to play any of the recreation with Ari after dinner well have to pick up the items (golf clubs/ball, horseshoes, etc) prior to 4pm when they close and were not sure if the stuff will have to be returned by then. Dinner will probably be happy hour at Skull Creek Dockside nothing like sitting outside by the water with great food & drinks!


    DAY 2 Thursday 5/6/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Dockside?

    Actual: It was nice & quiet last night, but I felt like I laid there awake most of the night for some reason. It was comfortable, and the temperature was perfect, so Im not sure what the problem was. I finally dozed off around 2 and woke up at 5:15 so I guess I did get some sleep! SB was sleeping in the living room in case he snored, and when I went out to check on him a few times I didnt hear any snoring. We may take a chance tonight & hope for no snoring.

    I was up just after 5:15 and made my cappuccino. Id brought my hot pot and set it up in the master bathroom area so I wasnt making a bunch of noise with the coffee maker. Theres a big tree outside the bedroom window, so it looks dark outside even when its not. Last night Pete texted asking if Id seen the sunset. Sadly, from this location my view is a tree and buildings. He sent a couple photos and it was a gorgeous sunset over the marsh. I do miss that view! Some night Ill have to wander over to the pier to catch it.

    SB was awake by 7, and said the sleep sofa was surprisingly comfortable. Go figure. Ari was up next, probably by 7:30. He left their room and joined me in the big bed. He also got his ipad and took a picture of the big bathtub and one of me because I love you and Ill miss you <g>. Close to 8 I made breakfast for the 3 of us eggs and sausage for Ari & SB, egg and bacon for me. Amanda was up shorly before we finished, and started making breakfast for her & Chris.

    I took the laptop out onto the porch to get the report caught up, then changed into a swimsuit & got my bag & cooler packed for the beach. Chris & Amanda were going to ride over with us, but Ari was taking longer than necessary to eat breakfast & get ready so we did what any responsible grandparents would do and went over without them. We agreed on who would bring what, and SB & I drove over to the Beach House. Between us we managed to get all the chairs, the umbrella, and our beach bag down onto the beach. Chris family brought their stuff and the cooler, and they arrived not long after wed gotten there.

    I called a friend in Gainesville and talked with him for a bit, then Pete & Judy walked up just as I finished the call. Chris got the tool from the lifeguard and set up the umbrella down at their end of the row of chairs. It was a gorgeous beach day temp got as high as 80 or 81, humidity was low, and the breeze wasnt too gusty. Fairly early we had a group of dolphins (2-3) swimming along just offshore. Several people had their dogs out to enjoy the beach (think starting Memorial Day theyre banned until after Labor Day). The beach was busy but not crowded at all. We had a big tidal pool in front of us, which Ari loved. There were quite a few dead jellyfish along the beach, as the tide was going out.

    We had a really nice time out there for almost 3 hours. Ari would run here and there that kid has more energy than all of us combined, and he can run endlessly (fast, too). SB really enjoyed having Pete around to talk to thats much more fun than having just me around <g>. Shortly before noon we decided to get something to eat from the food place at the Beach House, but that ended up being a bust. Chris family went up first, and the rest of us followed a bit later running into SB coming back with a mai tai for Pete. Hed bought a gold margarita for Amanda and got the mai tai to bring to Pete.

    We put the chairs & cooler in the cars, then went up to order food. After waiting for our turn (6 feet away COVID) we learned they didnt have what we wanted. So, plan B became going back to the main resort and having lunch in our villa. Pete & Judy went to Tide Me Over and came back with a really nice looking sandwich to share. I fixed SB a plate of rotisserie chicken, cole slaw & chips. I cut up some chardonnay bellavitano cheese (bought last night at Kroger) & ate that with crackers and a glass of wine.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari returned & went to Tide Me Over, but before leaving Ari pinched his finger in the folding doors of their closet. Id made some star-shaped ice cubes so he got one of those to help it heal faster <g>. However, I guess he was still talking about it when they got to Tide Me Over and the Mercantile because he ended up with a chocolate covered marshmallow on a stick for his boo boo. I wonder if that will work if youre in your 60s and not a cute little kid?? They came back with a kids hot dog meal for Ari, which is something SB may get some day, and the chicken and waffles.

    After lunch Pete & Judy went back to their villa, Chris & Amanda got Ari in the shower and then down for a nap, SB went to watch tv in the bedroom (Pete texted to alert him to a baseball game on tv so SB watched that) and I updated the report & then got into the shower. Wed planned to meet for happy hour at 3:45, and it was 1:30 by the time I got in the shower, so as usual the days are flying by way too quickly again!!

    Pete called around 2 to say the housekeeping manager had showed up saying were here to move you. Theyre moving all Pete & Judys stuff to a 1-br villa downstairs. Theyre not letting them in there until the room has been inspected, but at least they wont have to stay in the stench of an ashtray. Disney tried to claim the smell was from the smoking area downstairs (outside) causing the smoke to waft up and into the room, but would that explain the cigarette burn on the table too? Do burns waft up?

    While the others were napping I walked over to Shelter Cove Harbour and then came back and walked through the resort (mostly outside the property to skip wearing a mask). I picked up some golf clubs and golf balls for later tonight, and learned I could return them after they closed for the day.

    Just before 4 we walked over to Live Oak Lodge to meet Pete & Judy. SB rode with them, and the rest of us got Chris car from the free charging station across the bridge. At Skull Creek Dockside the parking lot was busy, and its a huge lot. We were able to get 2 high-top tables outside, but they were in the sun at first. A fan was blowing so it was hard on the hair! Once the shade moved over us it was really comfortable (except for the fan).

    We saw a dolphin swimming by, which was nice. We ordered drinks, and then looked at the various menus (regular, sunset dining, daily specialties). I got the bacon hushpuppies w/maple butter and the tomato soup. SB got the sunset fried flounder & shrimp dinner with a caesar salad and cup of red chowder. Judy had the beet salad, Pete got some appetizer, Ari had steak, Amanda had grouper and Im not sure what Chris had. Everything was very good, but I could tell my food was up first and had sat under the warming lights because the soup had that look and the hush puppies werent crisp and hot like last time. Tonight the Serg app worked, so we were able to add our checks to get our points, and I redeemed a $15 reward on our check. For every 250 points they give you $15 to take off a check.

    After settling the checks we headed back to the resort. Pete & Judy were in for the night so was SB. The rest of us walked over to Shelter Cove Harbour and bought pastries at the French bakery over there (Hilton Head Social Bakery). I got a chocolate thing and for SB I got the key lime crme brulee. Both were good, but the crme brulee was the winner. Amanda got a molten chocolate cake and Chris got bread pudding. We took the desserts back to the room and snacked on part of them.

    It was an early Mothers Day tonight, with bags of gifts from Chris & Ari for Amanda & me. I got a beautiful bamboo cheese board, with a drawer that contains the various cutting tools and chalkboard signs to mark which cheese is which. Its heavy, but well take it to Kidani Village in a couple weeks to try it out!

    Chris, Amanda, Ari & I went outside to play golf. The putting green (with 4 holes) is across from our front steps, and theres a big hammock right there. We took turns since we had 3 clubs and 3 balls, and had fun. I even got a hole in one, where I overshot the hole but it rolled back on a slight slope. That was more luck than skill! After finishing golf we walked over to the pool area to return the golf equipment, then walked out on the pier.

    The sun was almost all the way down, and quite a few people were out on the pier watching and taking pictures. Unfortunately little bugs were also out there feasting on the people bugs too small to be seen, but you knew they were getting you. We headed back to the villa, as by now it was after 8pm and were in for the night.

    We discussed plans for tomorrow and came up with something that should work. Well do the beach in the morning, but theyll head back earlier to get Ari some food & an early nap so we can do a late lunch at Frankie Bones. With the late lunch we wont want dinner, but we have stuff to snack on in the villa.

    Today was a terrific day, and its really nice having everyone together the group meshes really well and we enjoy each other. The perfect weather was a plus, as was the beautiful beach!


    DAY 3 Friday 5/7/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Frankie Bones

    Actual: I slept really well last night in fact we both did. I was up at 5:15 and SB was up shortly after that. Yesterday Ari was coughing more and more as the day went on. Hes real good about coughing into his elbow (better than most adults), but he clearly is coming down with a cold. Evidently he coughed a lot during the night and Amanda texted to say he has a fever. She had some medicine but it was past the expiration date. SB headed out around 6:30 to run an errand and would be stopping at Kroger to get more bread, so hell also get some new medicine for Ari.

    Today the morning is cooler, and it might be a bit chilly on the beach for the first hour or so. Its also expected to be more windy. The best beach time would be afternoon today, but that doesnt work for us. SB came back with a loaf of bread and Aris medicine, saying that once again he turned a 5-minute trip into an hour. He has a knack for that circling around to find the destination, which in this case ended up being in the Kroger parking lot (an ATM).

    We made breakfast, and Ari came out just before we ate. SB had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage & toast. I had my egg, bacon & slice of toast. Ari had an egg this morning he didnt want any sausage. He said he didnt feel well, but when Amanda said theyd probably just stay here at the resort suddenly Ari decided he felt good now <g>. He got another dose of medicine at 8:30, so well see what they do. I think it may help to let him burn off some energy running around in the sun, but they can keep it to a shorter timeframe & still let him enjoy the beach.

    I texted Pete to let them know that although it was still chilly we planned to head over around 9, but leave the beach at noon. I also filled them in on the lunch timeframe. SB is interested in the pool, so he may use the pool at the beach house for a bit. Just before 9 we got ready for the beach and headed over there a little after 9. Once again I parked in my spot underneath the beach house.

    Yesterday and today there was one beach chair and a beach umbrella laying there. I commented that it must be somebody who comes over by bicycle and just trusts his stuff will be left alone. Sure enough, when leaving there was one bicycle and the beach stuff was gone.

    SB decided to go up to the pool first, and I went out to set up our chairs on the beach. Before long he was back, saying there were a bunch of loud guys in the pool talking to each other and he was looking for peace & quiet. Just then Chris, Amanda & Ari showed up. Today it was cooler, with a north wind that made it chilly at times. When the wind would die for a moment the sun felt great.

    They skipped the umbrella since it was so windy, and others who tried had some pretty funny results. Fortunately the beach wasnt crowded, so when an umbrella would blow down nobody was close enough to get hit. SB sat there in his chair with his facemask still on, which cracked us up. We had a nice morning Ari ran around a lot and played in the sand. I did some reading. Chris family left around 11 and SB decided to ride back with them. I stayed until noon, then packed up and returned to the resort.

    When I came inside Chris was putting together a Lego vehicle and everyone else was asleep. I took my shower and got dressed, then SB woke up and did the same. He had a half chicken sandwich to tide himself over. I spent time on the phone with a friend at work, and Amanda & Ari joined us in the living room. Ari loved the Lego car and played with it on the floor.

    We agreed to head out at 3pm, so I let Pete & Judy know. We had a little time so I pulled out a 48-piece Marvel jigsaw puzzle and we worked on that together. By the time we finished it was time to meet Pete & Judy. We walked over to Live Oak Lodge, where SB & I rode with Pete & Judy. Chris, Amanda & Ari got their car from the charger and headed over to Frankie Bones. We all arrived about the same time and waited a few minutes while they put together a big table for us in the dining room. It was too early for happy hour, and the bar wouldnt have worked because the high-top tables were round (too hard to put together) and the booths only sat 4.

    The menu here, like at most Serg restaurants, is extensive you could eat here every day for a month and still not try everything. Its all so good, too. We ordered drinks, and then SB started with an appetizer toasted ravioli. This was a very large portion no way could a person eat this and also an entre! We struggled to finish it among the 5 of us willing to try, and it was excellent! I never expected it to be that good, and neither did he.

    The lunch menu was in effect, which means lower prices and slightly smaller portions still more than enough to eat though. Amanda got the balsamic chicken breast but substituted pasta alfredo instead of what it normally came with. Chris got the chicken alfredo and Ari had the kids cheeseburger slicers w/shoestring fries. Judy got a pasta primavera with lots of squash. Pete had the schein schnitzel (one of my favorites) with the red cabbage and spatzle. SB got his favorite spaghetti & meatballs. I had one of my favorites the meatball sliders, one of which went to SB. Of all the meals I think the schnitzel was the big winner Pete was oohing and aahing with each bite <g>. SB bought dinner for the group tonight, which was very nice. We forgot to get the Disney discount, though.

    After dinner we rode back with Pete & Judy since Chris family was going shopping to make us all breakfast (eggs benedict) tomorrow. After Pete ran his leftover schnitzel up to their villa we walked over the bridge to Scotts Fish Market. The bar was empty but it didnt really work because there were fat poles on each corner. Sitting 4 next to each other isnt conducive to conversation, and sitting 2 on either side of the corner would have had the pole in the way. Instead, SB took a 4-seater high top table next to the bar.

    The bartender was very good, and we ordered drinks (beer for the guys, wine for the women). At times the wind blew hard it was almost like last night with the fan, only cooler. I was glad I had my jacket, and Pete & Judy did as well. We ordered a second round and SB got up to talk to the bartender about something. Soon 2 pieces of chocolate peanut butter cake with candles arrived to celebrate Judys birthday, but with the wind the candles wouldnt light. Today is Judys actual birthday shes 70. Its so hard to believe, because she doesnt look or act it but then again, these days 70 isnt old (for most people there are some old farts who are old at 50 <g>). The cake isnt something I ever would have ordered, but wow was it delicious! We came very close to polishing off both pieces, and we were uncomfortably full at that point. I think SB & I both left some of our 2nd drink on the table, too full to finish it.

    We walked back to the resort, and SB & I walked along the marina to get back to our villa. Nobody was home, so I thought maybe the others were at the pool. They do trivia by the pool in the early evening, and outside you can hear the microphone blaring the questions. Im glad they didnt put us in a building AT the pool. As it is, were 1 building away so we hear the noise outside but not inside. However, the others werent at the pool they were at the Mercantile picking up a movie for Ari.

    Turns out theyd walked over to Shelter Cove Harbor and saw us sitting at Scotts. They went to the bakery again and got dessert. The adults were all tired, so we agreed it was bedtime even though it was just after 6:30! It worked for all of us, and Ari went along with it. They watched his movie in their room, while SB & I did our own things. Pete had texted to see if we knew about Happily Every After being shown on the tv. This is a recording of the castle event at Magic Kingdom, and it runs every 30 minutes from 6pm til 9:30pm. I hadnt watched it, and the crowds have kept me from ever wanting to see it in person (maybe if I was staying at Bay Lake Tower for some reason Id consider it), so his call was a nice reminder. I mentioned it to Amanda but theyve all seen it in person. I watched it and it was really nice. I greatly preferred watching it on tv vs being in the mob scene there, waiting for it to start and then dealing with horrendous crowds getting back to a resort.

    At Scotts tonight Pete & Judy were talking about Poseidon and it was clear they wanted to go there again. Im always up for a repeat there, and SB was also excited. We decided to go there again, and since its not a favorite for Chris & Amanda I figured they should pick the restaurant for the other night. When we saw them back in the villa I shared this with them, and they suggested that the 4 of us go to Poseidon and that night theyd go somewhere else. Thats fine too. Well figure it out tomorrow when were all together, in terms of which night for separate plans and where to go on the other night.

    At this point were all comfortably being lazy in our beds, which almost seems a shame since its still daylight and its so pretty outside. It was another great day I love the beach here, and its nice sharing it with family & friends.

    Tomorrow Chris will make us eggs benedict before we head over to the beach. After that, plans arent nailed down yet but Im sure itll be happy hour dinner somewhere. Maybe Ill get out to see the sunset again, if the bugs arent biting.


    DAY 4 Saturday 5/8/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Beach, any Serg

    Actual: Last night I took my ipad and rocked in one of the rocking chairs out on the porch for about 30 minutes before it got dark. It was so nice out there! A few other people were out but nobody was loud, and the pool trivia had long since ended. During Dec/Jan its too cold to be out there much, so this was nice. SB was pretty much asleep by then I stayed up until around 9:30.

    I got up around 5:15 and SB was already online reading articles. I made my cappuccino and took it back to bed. Ari came in around 7 and sat with me. Eventually we went out to the living room and worked on a wooden dump truck kit Id bought in the $1 section at Target. Boy was that hard Ill never buy that stuff again! As expected for $1, it wont last.

    Chris & Amanda started cooking the eggs benedict, and I texted Pete & Judy to come on over. Breakfast was excellent and we all enjoyed sitting around talking after we ate. I helped clean up the dishes, along with Chris. Pete asked what time breakfast would be tomorrow, lol! Housekeeping showed up to do our trash & towel, but since we are in the villa she could only take our towels (that we had to bring to her) and drop off the big trash bag full of new towels & supplies. Its a covid thing.

    Pete & Judy headed home and I was on my way to the beach by 10. The others were going to the pool here at the resort or so they said. Chris, Amanda & Ari went to the pool but SB never got up off the bed where he was watching tv and something on his laptop.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the beach it was warm, very slight breeze, and not crowded at all. Pete & Judy arrived about 30 minutes later, and we watched 3 dolphin swimming by again. It was so pleasant enjoying their company in such a pretty place I love the beach here! We all agreed wed be very happy living on the beach here.

    Around 12:15 or so we gathered up our stuff and went back to the resort, planning to meet later for happy hour at Poseidon. When I got home thats when I found SB still laying on the bed and he confirmed he hadnt gone to the pool but planned to later. I doubt it will happen, but even if he tried hed probably be turned away due to the pool being at capacity. I was going to do laundry but noticed the others were probably in their bedroom napping, so that didnt work out.

    I took my shower & got dressed, then heard people in the living room. Chris & Amanda were walking over to the bakery to get some chocolate thing Amanda loves that had sold out 5 minutes before they got there last night. I asked if the washing machine would wake up Ari, and Chris thought it probably would so I waited.

    I took my laptop out to the kitchen table and got caught up on the report. They came back with a couple of the molten lava cakes guess Amanda really loved them! We talked about dinner and they decided to skip Poseidon in favor of trying somewhere new. They hunted around online and decided on Holy Tequila. They tried to make a reservation, but were told the restaurant only takes a few reservations each day and leaves the rest for walk-ins. I think theyre going to head over around 4:30.

    I put my laundry in even though Ari was still asleep (hed slept long enough) and it didnt wake him. The washing machine here is really slow I wouldnt buy one of these. I took my laptop out to the porch and sat in the rocking chair to play some jigsaw puzzles online and enjoy the pretty setting. The only noise was birds chirping and the occasional door closing somewhere. It was nice! While I was out on the porch Ari must have woken up and Chris texted me to say they were going out & would be back after dinner.

    I texted Pete to confirm 3:45 as our meeting time. Just before 3:45 SB & I walked over to Live Oak Lodge. Pete drove us to Poseidon, and we were disappointed to see the Nauti Bar totally full. They sat on a bench while I went inside to confirm the Rooftop Bar would be open for happy hour. They confirmed, so we waited outside until 4 and then went inside & went upstairs when they opened up.

    It's much nicer up here its not on the roof, but its the 2nd story. The view from the outside tables is prettier. We really liked it! We ordered drinks then perused the menus. I stuck with the pimento cheese since thats why I come here. It was outstanding. Pete got some type of oyster appetizer and Judy got the appetizer beef sliders. Ive had those before and theyre excellent! SB went with a big meal stuffed shrimp, shrimp, scallops and ritz cracker crusted cod, along with rice and veggies. He loved his said it was all great. I texted Holli a couple pictures, since she loves Poseidon. She agreed the Rooftop looked great!

    After dinner we drove back to the resort, and Pete dropped us off by our room. The Hollands were still out. SB called his friend Scott, who is in the ICU with covid. I was happy to learn Scott wasnt one of those fools who are against the vaccine (I didnt really think he was). He was due to start his vaccines when his wife brought covid home from work. Hes recently retired law enforcement, in excellent shape no medical issues, not obese, never smoked in his life, runs marathons, etc. His wife did fine hes been in the ICU for a week and theyre telling him hell probably be there 30+ days. He is afraid he wont make it and he may be right, but hopefully not. Theyve talked about a ventilator, but hes resisting.

    I left SB & Scott chatting and took a glass of wine and my laptop out to the porch. I downloaded the photos off the camera (not very many) and decided to upload them to an album. It was so nice out on the porch I absolutely love it here this time of year and hate that school conflicts with it going forward. The weather is perfect, and its so nice and quiet even though the resort is sold out.

    The others were back by 6:30, and their dinner was outstanding. Evidently its an upscale Mexican place not tacos and nachos. Chris had surf & turf fajitas and Amanda had a pair of blackened mahi mahi filets over Mexican cheese rice, pineapple salsa & adobo sauce with crispy tortilla chips. She ate the whole thing, so it had to be amazing! They were going for a walk so I joined them. We returned the last movie and I answered the trivia question at the Mercantile. It used to be if you got it right you got a Hersheys miniature, but we all know how those spread covid so they dont do that right now. Instead, youre entered into a drawing if you get the answer right, and they bring you a gift bag with a magnet & some Hersheys miniatures in a covid-resistant plastic bag. Amanda won a couple days ago.

    From there we walked to the far end of the resort, and then walked along the marina over to Shelter Cove Harbor all the way to the end by Elas. We saw a few kayakers coming in and a jetski going out. We also saw the Holiday (Captain Marks ship) leaving for their sunset dolphin cruise. San Miguels had a couple of musicians/singers performing outside San Miguels to a packed crowd. It would be so great to be sitting there over drinks listening to the music in this great weather! Ari thought one of the performers looked like Grandpa Floyd, but it wasnt him <g>. The real Grandpa Floyd was laying on the bed watching the Twins game.

    We came back to the resort and Amanda heated up a chocolate lava cake. They may have added some gelato I saw in the freezer, but cant be sure since I wasnt inside. Ari & I sat out on the porch in the rocking chairs, where he chattered away about anything and everything. A few people were out at the grill in view of our porch, cooking dinner. There are grills scattered throughout the resort, each with a couple picnic tables and a hammock.

    By now it was almost 8:30, and it was getting dark outside. Hard to believe we were in bed by 6:30 last night, lol. Ari is wide awake, thanks to his 3+ hour nap! SB is engrossed in the ballgame. Amanda came out to the porch to see if Ari was ready for bed clearly the answer was not yet.

    Today was a fabulous day! Eggs benedict for breakfast with everyone was really great. The beach was divine, and perfect weather! Dinner at Poseidon is always great, and Im glad I finally tried the Rooftop Bar over there. The evening with Ari on the porch was really nice too.

    Tomorrow is sadly our last full day this trip has flown by. We will head to the beach in the morning and hope the wind isnt too awful. I think our last night dinner will be at Black Marlin.


    DAY 5 Sunday 5/9/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Beach, any Serg

    Actual: Last night after we all retreated to our beds I watched the Happily Ever After fireworks show again. Other than seeing the horrific crowds in attendance, it was a nice ending to a wonderful Disney day.

    I was up at the usual time, making my cappuccino and taking it back to bed. Around 7 I made us breakfast, and Ari came out of their room while we were finishing up. I made his egg and he started eating, and soon Chris & Amanda came out and made their breakfast. Its another beautiful day outside, and warmer than the 2 previous mornings.

    SB & I got ready for the beach and headed over about 9. Once again my parking spot was available and the beach was gorgeous! The sky was clear blue, sun was warm, wind was slight it was just a perfect beach day! We set up our chairs in the usual spot and about 30 minutes or so later Pete & Judy arrived. Shortly after they got there the Hollands joined us.

    Ari had a lot of fun playing with his sand toys, running to & from the tide pool, splashing through the tide pool, etc. Amanda had brought a pair of mini kites, and Chris got them flying each kite was smaller than my smartphone, but they were cute and easy to get up into the air. I did some reading while Pete & SB talked, and everyone had a nice relaxing morning.

    Around noon we decided it was time to head back, so we loaded the chairs into my car to take back to Gainesville. A few days ago Pete & Judy changed their plans. They were due to spend a couple nights in Savannah before flying home but they decided they didnt want to leave Hilton Head. The Disney resort didnt have anything available, so they booked the Marriott right on the beach (very close to Disneys beach house) and will just go back to Savannah to catch their flight Wednesday morning. Im sure Savannahs very nice, but I wouldnt want to leave here either.

    Back in the villa I heated up some rotisserie chicken with cole slaw for SB. I nibbled on leftovers, and Amanda did the same. Ari had a little chef boy r dee pasta thing, and Im not sure what Chris had. We basically were eating stuff from the fridge to avoid taking it all home or throwing it out. I took my shower & got dressed, then drove over to fill up the gas tank (Kroger) and continued to Kroger to shop for cheese. I picked up a few small pieces for me and I think I got 4 selections for Holli to thank her for feeding our feral cat while we have been gone.

    When I got back to the villa SB was in the shower and the others were still napping. I poured the last of the first bottle of wine Id brought (brought 2 the 2nd one is unopened still) and took it and the laptop out to the picnic table on the porch to update the report. Its so nice & quiet out here!

    I put a few things in the car, and then went inside and waited for Ari to wake up. By 3:45 he was still asleep so I texted Pete and suggested the 4 old people go for a drink at the bar and wait for the Hollands. He agreed. I let Amanda know, and Ari was starting to wake up so she said theyd be right behind us. SB & I walked over to Live Oak Lodge to meet Pete & Judy and we drove over to Black Marlin.

    I was a bit concerned when the parking lot was mobbed. We parked far away and walked up to the restaurant, seeing a massive crowd of people. I waited and told the staff at the desk that we were here for happy hour and then would be wanting to have dinner. She told me they were booked solid all night and were not taking any walk-ups! However, if we could find a high-top table at the outside bar or a booth in this odd building off to the side, we could drink and eat from the whole menu.

    We headed back around the bar and no high-tops were available. We went into the odd little building and it sucked! The booths were all empty, although half were filthy. The music was loud and a couple of guys at the bar were even louder. We tried to make it work and sat there not getting any attention from a server. The bartender told Pete a couple times hes sending someone over. The Hollands arrived and although we had the biggest booth it was a bit small for our party so they sat at the booth next door. This didnt work for our last night together.

    The server came by with menus, then left. I called One Hot Mamas to see if they were also slammed and they said there was no wait. We left Black Marlin & drove over there, which was only 1.9 miles away. There we were seated immediately, but I think the person didnt hear me clearly (damn masks) and sat us at a table for 6. I asked the manager for a bigger table and we were sent to the nearby table for 8.

    The food was excellent, but massive! SB ordered 20 wings as an appetizer for the table half lemon pepper and half Jack Daniels. They were pretty big wings, and excellent! For meals Ari had the brisket sliders, which looked good. Chris had pulled pork stroganoff, which he liked. Amanda ordered the fried chicken thinking it was a boneless breast but it was half of a massive chicken! This puts 50s Prime Time Caf to shame. And it costs less!

    Judy had a gigantic salad, Pete a burger, and SB got the medium size rib dinner (a lot of ribs). I ordered from the appetizer menu something like Mac Stack. It was a brick of fried mac & cheese topped with brisket, topped with slaw. Theres no way a person could eat this and then eat an entre! It was different, but good and no, I didnt finish it. Im not sure anyone finished their meal maybe Pete with the burger. Amanda gave us the overstuffed large carryout container with 3 pieces of fried chicken and mac & cheese she didnt eat. We also had a small container that we crammed the rest of the ribs and a few wings into. No point in going out to eat tomorrow night with all this!

    We settled the checks and I used another $15 Serg reward wed earned. Back at the resort we put the food away and then the Hollands & I decided to go out for another walk. First we dropped off the pool towels and then returned a movie to the Mercantile. We answered the trivia question correctly but didnt win the prize.

    Tonight we walked along the marina but then cut over down the path by the old KingFisher (which has a sign saying its slated for demolition) out to the road. We turned around there and headed back, but when we came to the bridge they continued into the resort while I detoured to walk around Shelter Cove Harbor. It was such a nice nice, and Ill really miss being here.

    When I returned to the villa the Hollands were eating up the rest of their desserts (couple things from the bakery, some gelato, watermelon slices, etc. Amanda mentioned SBs key lime brulee was still in the fridge, so I finished that (it wasnt much). Chris ran some of their stuff out to their car, and we retreated to our beds to watch various things before bedtime. I wanted to catch American Idol and was able to do that.

    Today was a fabulous day perfect weather, great beach time, great company, and after a rough start we had a very good dinner (but too much food). Someone commented this needs to be the restaurant on the first day, so we have the rest of the trip to eat the leftovers, lol!

    Tomorrow Chris family is heading back to Bonita Springs with a few stops along the way. Were meeting Pete & Judy for a farewell breakfast at Hilton Head Diner before we hit the road for home and they get ready to move to the Marriott.


    DAY 6 Monday 5/10/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    SB (63), husband
    Pete & Judy (60s), DVC friends
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Hilton Head Diner, Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: I ended up falling asleep before the end of American Idol, but was able to read the recap this morning to see who had been sent home. I was up around 5:15 and SB was already awake & reading online. I made my cappuccino and we had a lazy morning while waiting for it to be time to meet Pete & Judy for breakfast.

    The Hollands were up around 7 (actually Chris was up earlier and left the villa maybe topping off the charge for the car, returning the last movie to the front desk, etc). Ari came in and joined us in bed briefly, then had to go eat his breakfast.

    We learned SBs friend Scott was doing better and moved out of the ICU last night for a bed on a progressive care level for covid. Hopefully hell continue to recover on track or ahead of schedule.

    I made a couple trips to the car with some of our stuff while SB took his shower. Then I sat out in the living room while Ari finished eating & they packed up. I texted Pete to let him know if they were ready earlier than planned we were ready. When I didnt hear back we hung out in the villa until 8:15 and then we drove over to Hilton Head Diner. As we got out of the car Pete & Judy pulled in. We were seated right away. Pete got the 2-egg breakfast and Judy just got a blueberry muffin. The server offered to have it toasted on the grill, which was a nice touch.

    I had my usual the French toast, which is made with challah bread. Its delicious, but I can never finish it. SB went for the big breakfast and ate the whole thing it was crazy! It comes with 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries and 3 big pancakes. Either it was really great or he was really hungry, because it disappeared. After settling the checks we said our goodbyes and SB & I hit the road for Gainesville. Thanks to a shortcut Holli showed me in December, we left the diner at 9:12 and were home at 1. It used to take between 4 and 4.5 hours, so this was great!

    I didnt take a lot of pictures this trip but the photos are on snapfish at https://www.snapfish.com/share?via=l...18060/SNAPFISH

    This was a wonderful trip and everyone had a really great time. The weather couldnt have been more perfect, and for us at least the resort was so quiet and peaceful. Pete & Judy had the awful cigarette stench issue the first night, and then after moving downstairs they heard a LOT of noise from upstairs (sounding like kids jumping or running, jacuzzi tub noises, etc). Pete said next trip theyll probably just stay at the Marriott the whole time so he can get a decent nights sleep. SB & I were fortunate not to hear any neighbors not even outside on porches. Im sure its different in the summer, when the resort is overrun with too many kids.

    Once again dining was a big hit, except for not realizing Black Marlin would be all booked up for Mothers Day. The side building for the Hurricane Bar there absolutely sucks will not do that again! Chris & Amanda strongly recommend Holy Tequila, so well check out that menu for next trip. The favorite remains Poseidon, and its so close!

    The covid nonsense needs to come to an end, and sooner rather than later. I want my throw pillows back! I dont expect to have to check out a golf club or horseshoes prior to 4pm in case we want to play after dinner. I want to see the cookies in the lobby even though theyre nothing special. I want to play pool. All those things were annoying because theyre so unnecessary and dont do anything to prevent spreading covid. I was fine with wearing a mask into buildings, since thats what we do here in Gainesville. Walking around Shelter Cove Harbor very few people wore masks outside, including us (we carried them).

    Sadly, this is probably the last trip to Hilton Head with Chris family. Ari starts kindergarten in August, and pulling him out of school for these trips isnt an option. Im glad we had all these trips together, and I knew it would come to an end at some point (due to school), but well miss them next May. Going during the peak summer months is not an option too hot, too humid, too crowded, and too many points.

    The next trip starts May 27th, and since the concierge lounge is not operating at Jambo House we (me, Holli, Chris, Amanda & Ari) will be sharing a 2-bedroom villa at Kidani Village through the holiday weekend. There are 3 full bathrooms, so that works better than a Treehouse for all of us! SB isnt coming along, but hell be flying up to Maryland for his own adventure a day or 2 after that trip ends.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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  3. #2

    Thanks for covering the non-theme park DVC resorts, Sue! I am hoping to visit eventually. I do have concerns about the bugs. At home, I get eaten alive if I go outside in flip flops during Summer and am wondering if there are any times of year where I'd be able to do so when it's not freezing out. Also, it looks like the resort puts out some chairs and umbrellas on the beach, but not enough for everyone. For those of us who aren't close enough to drive with our own gear, do they have these items available to check out/rent?


  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
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    I don't recall ever being bothered by bugs before, and it was only that one time at dusk out on the pier (over the marsh). There were none seen (or felt) elsewhere. April is nice, although depending on cold fronts it's possible the beach may be chilly - but sheltered from the wind up at the pool at the beach house or at the resort it would feel warmer. I hear Sept/Oct is also nice, but I've never been that time of year. I've been over Thanksgiving, and it's generally not beach weather, although it's not freezing either.

    I'm pretty sure the chairs/umbrellas have nothing to do with the resort. The lifeguards on the beach run those. Disney doesn't provide anything to indicate the prices, so you'd need to check with the lifeguard. They're also in a set location - pretty far back when it's low tide & the beach is really wide! At Kroger you can buy a chair in a bag for around $10. At that price, it's easy to leave for someone else to use after you go home. I see people on facebook doing exactly that - posting the location of where to get the stuff.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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