My trip report and results of some hacks

I haven’t uploaded my photos yet, so I don’t have pretty pictures to show. I don’t think I have single one without DD in it. But that is normal for me.

We moved hotels many many times. Those packing cubes were awesome! We drove and recently got one of the luggage platforms that hangs off the hitch on the back. That was awesome too. We probably could have done without it but DH would have had to do his luggage-as-3Dpuzzle thing that he did before. Every hotel we used a luggage cart and brought in just both bins which were on it. On mornings where we didn’t have a hotel room, we just had the bins in the backseat.

We were travelling with another family that couldn’t leave until Monday morning and I have a MF job. So, Friday night we drove to Vicksburg and spent the weekend there. It was a great start to the vacation. DH has ability to spot an amazing restaurant just by looking at it and smelling it. We driving to eat somewhere ordinary and we passed this seafood place that smelled amazing! Small building with no tables and lots of customers for the day/time. It had “Boston” in the name. We all made happy moaning noises while eating in the car, and we went back the next day. Guy that took our order was shocked that we were tourists. We did all the normal tourist stuff. The Military park, both McRaven tours, courthouse tour and a boat tour. I was glad I told the hotel we were checking in at around midnight. When we arrived they had just turned away someone asking about vacancies. I asked if anything was going on that weekend. She said No, travel never dropped off after Spring Break and they are pretty full for the rest of the year.

Then we met the other family at a condo at the Beach Club condos on the gulf in Pensacola, FL. Only trouble there was that we were there for only one night. Since it was two families sharing the cost, it wasn’t too bad even with the cleaning fee.

Then we drove to Cabana Bay. Gina, my awesome TP TA got us some amazing rooms. 1100 and 1102. We had the Exterior Poolside Family Suite deal. Our rooms were the first on the right as you left the lobby. First building, first floor.

Full-Service Dining plan. It had been me that did the math on when that would be worthwhile. Results were entree had to cost >$30 to save money, and a little more if you got the passholder discount. When you stay onsite, you can buy any of the dining plans at the ticket desk. I had been told that any entree on any of the listed restaurants are included unless it is lobster. So, I bought a one-day-one-person FS plan and we had Bigfire reservations. The plan was to eat family-style, getting Brussel Sprout appetizer, then the giant steak, a seafood dish and a side of probably mac and cheese for DD. Use the FS plan on the steak and pay ourselves for the rest. Once we sat down, the waitress said that the two biggest steaks weren’t included. Also their gas was out, so they couldn’t serve a few of the apps, any seafood, any pasta or potato dish. So, every last thing we wanted to order was out. We were hungry by this time, so we ate at the Cabana Bay diner. One thing worth noting there. There was a long line for the grill which looked like it was a line for the restaurant as a whole. But, the other lines were much shorted. Fortunately, we hadn’t used the QS part of the dining plan. I stood in line the next day at Guest Services at park close and I got a full refund. The ticket desks couldn’t do refunds. I’d had the waitress mark off the things we couldn’t get on the menu. The guest services guy goggled when I showed him the crossed off menu.

The Cinematic Light Show. I wasn’t sure if they would show this, so I hadn’t looked into it beforehand because I didn’t want to be disappointed if we didn’t see it. Saturday night they were showing it. I’d had a vague idea it was water fountains and fireworks. I asked several TM’s where was best to watch that. Most precise answer I got was “Near Transformers”. We saw the equipment in the water so got some seats at the tables near Ricters. That was a mistake, we had a side-view so we couldn’t see the video projections. But we did see where everyone else was. They had it Sunday too. We’d had Toothsome reservations for 8:15 Sunday, so I rearranged dining reservations. On Sunday, DH got to the viewing area early and saved our spot while DD and I rode something once more. It wasn’t a problem for us to join him. He had a spot on the front fence. It was worth going back to see again. Leaving there was my second favorite memory of the trip. DD chatted excitedly as we left. Things like, “I’d forgotten how great Kung Fu Panda was” and “Wasn’t the Minions section great”. Warmed my mommy heart. It seems that they are showing it when the park closes at 9pm.
My best memory is from VB. The other family had never been to a water park. They had a silly idea that since they weren’t good swimmers, it wouldn’t be safe. At one point, the two girls (best friends) were going down the Fierce River together giggling and giggling, while the two moms (best friends) were also going down the Fierce River and enjoying the giggling of the girls. .

One things I’d read here is that if a QS place that had QS dining plan entrees didn’t have a kids menu, then you could use the kids QS entree credit on an adult item. So, we gave that a try, figuring the worse case is that we’d have to get a kids entree somewhere. The plan was to use at the seafood section in Simpsons area. But, we got DD the mac and cheese at VB using the kids credit. Not sure if we were limited to that version since we were going to get that anyway, DH got the version with shrimp.

VB showers. I was really impressed with the showers at VB. So much better than our local waterpark. I could see how it might be a problem if you were leaving with everyone else because there wasn’t that many showers and the private area in each was big enough for people to change into their clothes while staying dry. But we left mid-day and went to the dry parks.

Another thing at VB. If you have the photopass make sure you go by the photo booth and make sure your TapuTapus are registered to your account. Seems to be about 50% chance that they won’t be. But, they can do some computer magic and make that happen if they can find a photo of you.

We also stayed at Royal Pacific and Hard Rock. At Hard Rock we switched from the requested room to “any available now” because we were tired. We never have the curtains open. So, I think if ever we went back I’d request second floor near the door to the boat ramp. In both hotels, the boat ramp exit was on the first floor and the lobby was on the third. We never did the HR pool, but we loved the water in the RP pool. I don’t know if it was salt water or just minimal chlorine. But, my skin felt better after having the swamp water residue removed.

At the end of our trip the Mardi Gras booths were gone. We used most of the remaining credits on the Pink Pink. The Ice cream place in the HP area said that the MG lanyards wouldn’t work in the HP area. But, I suspect that they would have if DH had asked them to try it. We did enjoy the food booths. I hope they continue to do them that way spaced throughout the park.


I don’t know if it’s changed any since, but my sister and I were there in December 2019 and when the Minions section came on, Gru said something along the lines of “I’d hate to see the poor schumucks who have to follow that!” He then realizes they’re next and he says “What? WE’RE the poor schumucks?” My sister and I got the biggest kick out of that and to this day, if we get stuck in a situation, we’ll look at each other and say “What? WE’RE the poor schumucks?”


We hated the showers at VB, they were freezing when we went!

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