Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

The weather has been wonderful for the past few days so Marc and I decided to go to Nashville to check out their zoo. We'd heard great things about it from friends. It's kind of set up like the animal trails at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which was neat. We were able to get our AK fix!

It starts off with a jungle-themed area.

Blue Macaws

Then you move into the historical area of the zoo. The land used for the zoo was once a working farm, and the family donated the land. The original house, outhouse, cemetery, barns, etx. are still on display. There is also a beautiful carousel around the corner.

Marc and the Meerkats

There is also an aviary section called Lorikeet Landing. The lorikeets loved Marc! I have to admit, the area was a little creepy to me, because the birds would fly up to you and land. Eeek! Not having any of that!

The next area is the savannah. They have several elephants and giraffes, as well as zebras and meerkats. (I can't remember the other animals on display, but there were a few more.)

They also have a petting zoo that had donkeys, goats, cows, and a camel to name a few. This little guy (or girl?) was so tiny.

The zoo is on the smallish side, but the animals seemed very happy. I took a lot of pictures, but next time, I'll definitely bring my zoom lens. (Didn't want to schlep it around all day...)

We also went ahead and bought a membership, because they gave a great educators' discount. It pretty much paid for itself, and we can get discounted or free admission to lots of zoos and aquariums in places we often visit.

Can't wait to go back!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The View from the Top

Okay, so one of the main reasons that Marc wanted to stay at Bay Lake Tower was that we'd be able to see the fireworks from there. You can only access the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower if you're a DVC member staying there on points. Lucky for us, we met both requirements!

We went to the lounge a little early to have a few drinks and take some pictures. The view was amazing! You could see Magic Kingdom, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, the Wilderness Lodge, etc. The sky wasn't very clear that night due to brush fires, but we were still impressed with the view.

Magic Kingdom

The Grand Floridian

Cinderella Castle, Astro Orbiter, 
and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Space Mountain

Ferry boat on its way to Magic Kingdom

Red monorail on its way to the 
Contemporary Resort

Bay Lake view from the lounge

The lounge had a lot of little sitting areas. It was early, so we were the only ones inside the lounge at this point.

I got a Pom-Power Mojito. It was the first time I'd ever had a mojito, and it was very (VERY!) strong!

Seeing the fireworks from the lounge was so exciting! They pipe in the music that's played in the park so it was just like we were there. Of course, I cried during Wishes like I always do. Sniff, sniff...

Unfortunately, I didn't get many great pictures of the fireworks. I didn't bring my image stabilization zoom lens with me. (Stupid, stupid, stupid!) Oh well, there's always next time. And there WILL be a next time. We loved our stay at Bay Lake Tower!

Disney's Bay Lake Tower

When we woke up on the morning we left Beach Club Villas, we went over to Hollywood Studios to get a few more rides on Star Tours. (And maybe a couple more on Toy Story Midway Mania, too!) The park wasn't that crowded, so we were able to ride three times within just a few minutes. We also had FastPasses for Star Tours, but we didn't need them. So, we handed them to a couple that were coming in for the day. They were excited and very thankful to get them!

We went back to Beach Club, packed our stuff in the car, and headed over to Bay Lake Tower. One of the castmembers greeted us by name as we drove up into the valet area, an we went in to check-in. Our room wasn't ready, so we drove over to FuddRucker's to get some burgers. (Yum!) During lunch, we got a text saying that our room was ready. Back to Bay Lake Tower we went!

We drove up to the pick-up/drop-off area and unloaded our stuff. The building was modern and beautiful!

Bay Lake Tower

Room 7927

The Entryway

The Dining Room

The Kitchen

TV/Dining Area

The Living Room

The Patio

The View from Our Patio

The Laundry Room

The Closet

The Master Bathroom

I want this picture!!!

The Shower (with Dual Shower Heads!)

The Toilet

The Bedroom

The Second Bathroom

Community Hall

The Sky Bridge

Contemporary Resort Shop Windows

Mural in the Contemporary Resort

Love this picture!

The Night View from Our Patio

Sunrise Over Bay Lake

We loved staying at Bay Lake Tower! It was very convenient to Magic Kingdom...only a monorail ride away! What's funny is that Marc and I almost bought our DVC points here, but as much as I loved the resort, we're actually still very happy with our Animal Kingdom-Kidani purchase. Bay Lake Tower is still a wonderful place to visit, though. It's just not our Disney "home."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Disney's Beach Club Villas

While Marc was back at home, he decided to call Member Services at DVC to see if there were any rooms available for the following week. He really wasn't expecting to get anything, because it was the week following Memorial Day. (Busy! Busy! Busy!) But, it must've been his lucky day, because he was able to reserve a 1-bedroom at Beach Club Villas!

I've always wanted to stay there for two reasons: It's a short walk over to International Gateway at Epcot and to be able to swim in Stormalong Bay. Both wishes came true, and as a bonus, we were able to stay in a 1-bedroom.

Along the Walkway to the Villas

Ariel was waiting to greet us!

The Entryway

The Kitchen

The Living Room

The Dining Room

The Bedroom


The Bathroom

The Laundry Room 
(The best thing about a 1-bedroom!)

The View from Our Patio

We were in such a rush to see our room that we missed all the neat details that were in the lobby of the villas building.

The rest of the pictures were taken in the drawing room.

After getting everything unpacked and put away, we headed over to Epcot. We went through the World Showcase, grabbed a quick lunch, and then went back to our room. It was so nice that we really wanted to just skip the parks and enjoy the room.

Later that night, we had a nice dinner at Cape May Cafe, which is Marc's favorite Disney World restaurant. Then we went swimming in Stormalong Bay until about 10:45 that night. That pool was awesome!

We really enjoyed our stay at Beach Club Villas and can't wait to stay there again!