Monday, January 30, 2012

Room Photos: Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort Two Bedroom Villa

We just returned from a week-long stay at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in a two bedroom villa.  Our travel party was myself, my husband, our two small girls, and my parents.  It was so nice to visit a new location while still having all the Disney Vacation Club amenities we love such as a full kitchen and washer and dryer.  Below are some photos I took before we moved all our stuff in.  This should give you an idea of most of the accommodations at HHI since the one bedroom is the living room/kitchen and the master bedroom and the studio will be similar to the second bedroom.

Living Room

Sleeper sofa

Kitchen (cute baby not included)

Master bath part 1, accessible from the hall, and includes a shower

Master bath vanity (the cabinets were pretty but I never went back to get another shot of them.)

Jetted tub in master bath

Master bedroom TV and chair

The balcony from the master bedroom

King-sized master bedroom

Kitchen table


Hallway to 2nd bedroom.  The mudroom aspect was nice.

Washer and dryer

2nd bedroom, two queen beds

2nd bedroom TV and table (we moved the table to the kitchen so we could all dine together)

2nd bathroom with shower/tub combo

Nook in the 2nd bedroom. Helpful for storage

How did Shadow get in here?

Look closely and you'll see some familiar initials.


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

On the Road Again

Goodbye Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. We've had a wonderful time! In the future, we can't be so long between visits.

Yesterday the girls slept in really late and I was able to eat breakfast (that I didn't have to cook!) and enjoy a couple cups of coffee before mama duties began for the day. We all went out to lunch and then Andy and the girls and I went to Harbor Town. Baby Minnie napped in her stroller while the rest of us walked around the harbor. I had lots of fun with my new zoom lens trying to get pictures of a fishing pelican but alas he was faster than I am. Tink loved the playground there and as usual, made a new friend.

Once back at DVC, Tink napped and Andy and I made the sacrifice of finishing up the ice cream treats in the freezer. Baby Minnie saw mine and crawled her little self over to share. It was so funny watching her with the ice cream.

My parents went out to dinner and my family stayed in and had some leftover BBQ. At 7:00, Tink and I went out to play at the campfire again. The silly songs are lots of fun and who doesn't like s'mores? Grandaddy joined us when they returned from dinner and we all played for a while.

This morning Tink and Grandaddy (DisneyDad) went to another toddler craft time. Today they made crowns and straw cups.

Quote of the trip and probably the year....
When we took our toasted marshmallows to the table to be turned into s'mores, the cast member asked Tink her name. Right then, his buddy came up and said, "this is Audrey. She's been running this place all week." Bahahaha!

Thanks for sharing this week with us. I'll be posting more about it in the coming weeks. If you haven't visited Hilton Head yet, what are you waiting for?!?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

S'mores and the Beach

Andy and I were able to go out on our date last night. Instead of the fancier restaurant we'd considered, the pub won out. He and I had a great time but let's just say it was really obvious that this is snowbird season. The girls stayed with my parents and watched "Peter Pan." We've taken advantage of the free DVD rentals in the general store this trip. Once we got back, it was time for the campfire. Tink loved the silly songs and the fire but our picky eater had to be talked in to trying s'mores. She liked it but it wasn't as well received as her Mickey ice cream sandwich from earlier in the week. The baby went too. Minnie just took it all in. And she liked the graham cracker. This morning DisneyDad took Tink to her butterfly class. It was along the same lines as the bird class from earlier in the week. After that, we shot some Eastman family photos. I didn't have pictures of the four of us so we took advantage of a gorgeous day and the lovely scenery here at the resort. We had lunch at a Greek restaurant and then went to Coligny Beach. Disney's beach house is under refurbishment right now, and while they have made arrangements for guests to use other facilities, we decided to go to the public beach. My parents strolled with Baby Minnie and let her nap. Tink literally dug right in to the sand. I had fun taking pictures of us all. The ones in this post are from my phone. My better shots from this trip will be shared later.Disney bingo is tonight but I think we are going to stay in and relax. Personally, the Mickey ice cream in the freezer and "The Little Mermaid" DVD are calling my name.--Amy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just like the World, you need more than one visit

Time for another update from Hilton Head. Since I last checked in, we had a delicious and fun lunch at Fiesta Fresh. We ended up trying all of their desserts and Andy and I were too full to go out for our early dinner date. The other three Eastmans had a nice long nap. DisneyDad, Baby Minnie and I went for a walk around the resort to take more photos and do some shopping. The evening's activity was "sweet goodnights" in Big Murggie's Den. Both of the girls enjoyed the stories read by two recreation cast members. Tink especially loved getting to sit with bigger kids and have cookies and milk. The baby seemed to enjoy story time, even if it was just a little longer than her young attention span would allow.

This morning Andy took Tink to toddler craft time and she got to make a yarn and bead necklace with her name on it. Again, she was the only child there and loved the personal attention. At noon, DisneyDad and I participated in the " Behind the Ears" tour for DVC members. This one hour tour took us around the resort to share history and hidden Mickeys. As a special treat, w were able to explore a grand villa. This is not normally a part of the tour so we lucked out.

Andy and Tink had lunch at Tide Me Over. Being creatures of habit, they again had a cheeseburger and a grilled cheese. When DisneyDad and I neared our villa, we found Andy and Tink relaxing in a hammock. Ok, well, that was Andy's idea but there is no way you're going to get a two and a half year old to sleep there. She was so excited. I joined them for a few minutes.

Well, now we are back around to another afternoon naptime. My parents are off for a late lunch and some grocery shopping. Andy and I are going to take another swing at a dinner date. We'll have to make it an early one because tonight at 7:00 is the campfire and s'mores.

Back to the title of this post. Regular Walt Disney World visitors know you can never do it all. There is always something left to explore. Believe it or not, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort is alot like that. Without the parks, you have time to relax and enjoy the resort itself. We have participated in more activities this week than I have in almost 18 years of visits to Old Key West. The vibe here is very relaxed and with two small girls and a husband just back from a long international business trip, we've taken it easy. We haven't rented a bike or been over to the beach. We haven't gone shopping around the area. We didn't make it over to Savannah. Andy mentioned the kayak tour today but we may not do that this trip either. And all of that is ok. We've had a chance to get a little rest and fresh air and for the girls to play with their daddy and grandparents without anyone rushing off to work. All of these other activities sound like fun and we'll get around to them. Come on, we need some excuse to come back, right?


Photo Flashback! Afternoon Beauty

Hammocks abound at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. The guest lucky enough to score this one also gets a beautiful view of Fishing Pole Pier.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fun on Hilton Head Island

Right now, Tink and the rest of the family are enjoying some playtime at The Sandbox children's museum. Minnie and I are taking a break so she can nap.

This morning started out with Mickey pancakes for Tink courtesy of Grandaddy (DisneyDad) and a little fresh air on the balcony. What a view! I've taken lots of pictures of the resort and will be sharing them in future posts.

Yesterday Tink and I went to a class for preschoolers at the resort's Community Hall. She was the only child there and loved the one on one time with the cast member for crafts and story time. Andy and I got to have a rare lunch out alone and then took the girls on a driving nap as we explored the island. Dinner last night was an experience and I'll share dining options in future posts too.

Once our littlest traveler awakens, I think we are heading off for some quick Mexican food.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shadow and B'Lou

Shadow is the mascot here at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort. She befriended the construction crew and has been here ever since. She is the only live animal mascot at any Disney resort. B'Lou is a storyteller and musician and quite a character himself.

Check the weekly activity guide for Shadow's meet and greet times. She's always around the resort but meets with guests on the front porch or in the den from time to time. B'Lou also performs music and magic several times each week.

Tink and I enjoyed dancing along as B'Lou played "I Wanna Be Like You" on the banjo. And if I am lucky, there was no video taken.

Tide Me Over

It's lunch time here at Hilton Head.

The resort doesn't have a table service restaurant but Tide Me Over is open for a quick breakfast or lunch. My family enjoyed a cheeseburger, a veggie wrap and a grilled cheese sandwich. Items from the children's menu are served in a sand pail and include a small shovel. Seating is outdoors on picnic tables. Since its a little chilly and windy today, we carried our lunch into the Community Hall. It made a nice spot for lunch and to visit with my friend, Jackie, and her daughter who came over to see us from nearby Savannah, Georgia. While we chatted, Tink found a toy box filled with princess dolls, puzzles and lots more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Almost Ready

Packing for our vacation at Hilton Head is nearly complete. Minnie looks excited about her first big trip. Please follow Growing Up Disney throughout the next week as we share Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort.

Magical Blogorail: For Me Disney Magic Is...

Welcome to those of you joining me from A World View and those of you just hopping aboard.  I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.  On today's Magical Blogorail trip, Growing Up Disney is represented by DisneyDad.  If you are just joining us, please watch your head and step as we travel from the daily drive into the Magic of Disney.  Please collect all your Fairy Dust and feel free to sprinkle it around as we go.
Today’s topic is

For me Disney Magic is…
When I think of “Disney Magic” for me it begins in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s watching the Mickey Mouse Club on TV. 
Who's the leader of the club
That’s made for you and me
M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E

Every day had its’ own theme:  Monday was Fun with Music Day, Tuesday was Guest Star Day, Wednesday was Anything can Happen Day, Thursday was Circus Day and Friday was Talent Roundup Day.  Each show was something you would look forward to watching.  Then there were the serials that were part of the show.  The Adventures of Spin and Marty, The Mystery of the Ghost Farm, The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure and Annette (yes Annette stared in her own serial on the show). All brought you into a world of imagination where anything could happen. 

I remember going to the theater in 1960 to see Kevin Corcoran who was in some of the serials on the Mickey Mouse Club show in Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus at the Alabama Theater with my parents.  I was 6 years old.  It was an event as they did not go out to the movie.  This was a special event at a special place to see the movie at the Alabama.  I still remember sitting in the balcony watching the story unfold.

Then there was Walt Disney Presents and later Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color bringing that Disney Magic into our living room each week. With Walt Disney himself introducing the programs.  Always interesting and entertaining Walt drew you into the story he was about to present.  And there was the “Florida Project” that would be close to my home in Alabama. 

My sister lived in central Florida and one trip I was able to go to the Walt Disney World Preview Center.  In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by orange groves, was a strange shaped metal building.  But inside it brought you into the “World”.  There was a large model of the Magic Kingdom showing what was being built nearby.  You could sense the anticipation of the opening.  We were back shortly after Walt Disney World opened for our first visit in December 1971 for our first visit. The first of many.
My Parents, My nieces, and Me December 1971
I took my wife to Walt Disney World for her first trip on our honeymoon in 1973.  I remember sitting on Main Street USA with my daughter in my lap in 1980 when she was 3 or 4 waiting for the 3 o’clock parade to begin.  I remember her excitement of her first trip and the wonder in her eyes.  My son was almost 10 before we could take him to WDW.  He still has the Chip and Dale stuffed animals from that trip and he has pictures of his trip to Discovery Island of him with the huge Galapagos turtles that lived there. 
My Wife and Me on our Honeymoon December 1973
There was my daughter’s graduation trip we took with several of her friends, her job there in the College Program as a hostess at the Crystal Palace, her running her first marathon, and her wedding at the Wedding Pavilion.   
Just before I walked Amy down the isle - April 2005
When my father died and after everything was over, we took a trip to WDW to get away.  Amy asked if she could come crash on the couch while we were there.  The first night of the trip we were at EPCOT and just as the fireworks started she told us she was expecting Tink.  Then on Tink’s first birthday, I took my first Granddaughter’s hand as we went down Main Street together. (Check out the Growing Up Disney logo picture).  On another trip while at Olivia’s at Disney’s Old Key West Resort Tink surprised us with a t-shirt that read “I’m the Big Sister”.
Tink on Halloween 2010
There have been many family trips since and we have more in the works.  Ridge (my son) made several solo trips in 2011 for pictures and stories for Growing Up Disney. 
Ridge's First trip 1991 at Discovery Island
So what does all this “rambling” have to do with Disney Magic?  For me it Disney brings me back to my childhood and to my family.  Disney Magic has been part of my life and the important memories I have.  The magic of Mickey is the magic of the innocence of a child and the wonder in their eyes.  The magic of Disney has been part of me as long as I can remember from the child watching Mickey on TV to the father and grandfather watching my children and grandchildren as they marvel at the Mouse.  In creating Disneyland Walt wanted to have a place that is a “family park where parents and children could have fun – together”. The magic he created was not just part of a park but in family entertainment where adults could become children again and children marvel at the world.
Tink's first birthday 4/21/10
Now it's time to say goodbye
To all our company
M-I-C, See you real soon
K-E-Y, Why? Because we like you

DisneyDad September 2008
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Donna Kay.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way   and want to reboard:

1st Stop  ~ A World View
2nd Stop ~   Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~   Disney Donna Kay
4th Stop ~   Disney on Wheels
Final Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
PS.  While writing this, I took a side trip to the internet to Google the Mickey Mouse Club.  I found a wonderful website on the “Club” called The Original Mickey Mouse Club Show that brought back lots of memories.  You can visit it here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Best of Photo Flashback! - Tea Anyone?

Mad Tea Party from December 1971. My first trip to the Magic Kingdom. I'm the one with the purple shirt... and you should see the pants!! Maybe in another post............... Or NOT!


This post originally appeared on Growing Up Disney on June 23, 2010.  It was too much fun not to share again. --Amy

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Magic of My Disney Fairy Tale Wedding

You don’t get married at Walt Disney World unless you are a sucker for Disney magic and want to add a little of that pixie dust to your big day.  Well, I’m into Disney magic hook, line, and sinker.  It didn’t surprise too many people when Andy and I wanted to get married at WDW.  Our wedding was held at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion in April 2005.

One of the things I still rave about was the team that a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding provides you.  If you’ve watched any cable television in the last few years, you’ll see that wedding planning can be a pretty crazy business.  I love that everyone involved in a Disney wedding has worked with each other and in these locations.  Our wedding planner took care of arranging everything for us and Disney has someone to handle just about anything.  For our ceremony at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion and reception at the Grand Floridian, the locations, music, photography, videography, hair and makeup, floral, transportation, and food were all Disney services.  The Cast Members involved in our wedding were wonderful and we didn’t have to hire these vendors ourselves.  Just about the only thing we had to do on our own was provide our clothing.  And Disney even helped out with that, suggesting a tuxedo rental service that would do fittings at our resort and deliver and pick-up the suits as well.  That same company sent a lady out to steam my gown.  My husband, Andy, loves this story.  His boutonniere was crushed from all of the hugging after the ceremony.  (Hey, my side of the family is Southern: we hug.)  After the guests were sent off to the pre-reception, our wedding planner saw the flower, got on her walkie talkie, and before we knew it, a nice man from the floral department was there pinning an exact replacement on Andy’s lapel.
Now all that organization and general lack of drama allows you to relax and enjoy the wedding and the guests who have come to celebrate with you.  But the real reason for a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding is magic.  First, the location.  You can have your wedding and reception just about anywhere on Walt Disney World property if the price is right, but they use a few outdoor settings and the pavilion most often.  Like the good Disney nerds we are, my family and I toured the pavilion shortly after it opened 15 years ago.  Once I met my prince, there was no other place for our I Do’s, after all, as a Disney Vacation Club member, Walt Disney World is my home away from home.  The Imagineers who designed the Wedding Pavilion managed to conjure up every detail of a girl’s dream wedding.  It’s a white Victorian style building, wrapped in windows, nestled on its own island in Bay Lake and surrounded by lush landscaping.  Inside, there is a wide center aisle flanked by pale wood pews with hearts on the end.  The carpeting is in soft shades of pink and green with just enough roses worked in.  The curtains are hung from double wedding rings and the gingerbread work around the top of the room includes the silhouette of a certain mouse.  The audio and video equipment is all built in; so there is no videographer running around, distracting from the ceremony.  Once the double doors at the back of the chapel are opened and you make your way to your prince, you can take in one of the best parts of the pavilion.  The window in the back overlooks Cinderella Castle.  You simply cannot beat that. I remember seeing birds flying over the water and the monorail going in and out of the station at Magic Kingdom.  I love that the castle is in our photographs.  It’s subtle and so beautiful.
We surprised everyone with this next bit of Disney wedding magic.  During our wedding planning session at Franck’s, my mom decided to “rent herself a man.”  Before you get the wrong idea, our wedding planner had suggested having either a majordomo (think the man carrying Cinderella’s glass slipper, Prince Charming’s right hand man) or an English butler.  Of course, I wanted the majordomo.  He would carry our rings to the altar and act as master of ceremonies, helping our guests get from the ceremony to the pre-reception and then to the reception.  At the reception, he’d help us make a “Grand” entrance.  Mom loved the idea of someone else being in charge of the day, allowing her to relax and enjoy it all.  The wedding planner also suggested playing a little prank on our brothers.  My brother, Chris, was my “Man of Honor” and was holding Andy’s ring for me.  Andy’s brother, Gary, was one of his Best Men and had my ring.  Before the ceremony, the wedding planner asked the guys for the ring, telling them the minister, my father, was going to bless them.  They forgot all about the rings, playing right into the joke.  During the ceremony, when it came time for the exchange of rings, my father asked the guys for them.  Both got looks of panic across their faces and said something about blessings.  Just then, there was fanfare and the back doors of the chapel opened.  An instrumental version of “When You Wish Upon A Star” played and majordomo walked down the aisle carrying our rings in a glass slipper on a pillow.  We had kept this a secret, so this was a huge surprise to the guests.  I knew it was going to happen and I still cried!  My mom still says my friend Heather’s face was worth the cost.  The majordomo bowed to me and then presented the rings to my father.  This was one of the best Disney touches of the day and I love watching it on the wedding video.
The most magical part of our wedding was a visit from Mickey and Minnie.  I danced with Mickey Mouse at my wedding reception.  How cool is that?!  This was a surprise gift from my father.  He didn’t even tell my mom about it.  Dad called the wedding planner and asked that Mickey and Minnie be invited and requested that she leave it off of any paperwork until after the event so that I wouldn’t be tipped off.  It worked.  We had all just finished dinner and were chatting with the guests.  Our pianist started playing the Mickey Mouse March and in walked the Big Cheese and his Main Squeeze in their formal attire.  I think my jaw hit the floor.  For a lifetime Disney kid, this was the highlight of the day other than marrying my prince, of course.  Mickey and Minnie danced with my husband and myself and then watched over us as we cut our gorgeous cake which resulted in another of my favorite photos.  Speaking of photos, we didn’t have a huge number of wedding guests and every one of them was able to have at least one picture taken with their favorite mouse.  We had such fun goofing around with them.  Minnie had Andy get down on one knee for her and she acted jealous when Mickey hung out with me.  Mickey covered his eyes while Andy gave me a kiss.
There are so many more special memories and magical moments from our Disney Fairy Tale Wedding.  I can’t imagine a better way to begin my life with my wonderful husband.  We were able to celebrate with those closest to us in our favorite place.

This article originally appeared on Couponing to Disney.  Be sure to visit my pal Kristen's fabulous site all about saving money to use at Disney Parks. --Amy