Trip Report The graduation trip that finally happened!

Hello! We are back and I am ready to share our trip with everyone!

Who:
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Me (Amy), my husband Brian, Owen (14), Lily (17), and Logan (19) (And it appears that I am now the shortest in the family!!)

Why: We were celebrating Logan's high school graduation (which happened to be last year, but as most of you already know, our cruise was cancelled last summer)

Where: Port Canaveral, Miami, The Dream, and Animal Kingdom Lodge

When: June 12-23, 2022

Our goal was to leave the house by 1 or 1:30am on Sunday, June 12. My alarm went off at midnight and Brian and I quickly showered and rounded up the kids who never went to bed. We quickly loaded the car and were pulling out of the McDonald's parking lot with 2 large Cokes at 1:20! I always start the drive as I don't sleep well in the car and Brian does, so he sleeps a little longer initially so he can then take over. It was raining when we left and quickly turned into a downpour. Cincinnati is a huge obstacle course of orange cones, lane closures, and lane shifts which is difficult to navigate at the best of times, but was horrendous in the pitch black with the pouring rain! Brian checked the satellite and assured me that it would stop once we got into Kentucky. I was never so happy to see the Brent Spence bridge...only to met by even harder rain in Covington! Brian said, "whoops! I guess it followed us!" He got a not very nice look from me! Luckily, it did stop raining shortly and I got us all the way through Kentucky and into Tennessee. I was still feeling awake enough to keep driving, so I got us to Knoxville and navigated our new route onto 40 to start heading east. Brian then took over and I got a few pics along the way since it was more scenic than our normal trip straight down 75.

You'll have to pardon the bug guts on our windshield! We couldn't keep up with keeping the windshield clean!
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We went through several tunnels.
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The reason they are called the Great Smoky Mountains:
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We saw quite a few hot air balloons at one point.
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We eventually hit 26 and then 95. I wouldn't say the traffic was necessarily any better than 75, but Brian was happy to not have to drive through Atlanta and it was much more scenic!

We finally saw this at about 1:30pm:
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We had stopped shortly before that, so no one wanted to stop at the Welcome Center for me!
We finally were able to experience Buc-ee's for ourselves! It was quite an experience and almost overwhelming!
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We pulled into our hotel in Port Canaveral about 4:30pm.
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We stayed in the Home2Suites side. It was odd to have 2 different hotels under the same roof since they shared the pool and had the same breakfast offerings.
We unloaded the car and debated what we would have for dinner. Some of us wanted pizza and some wanted seafood. The pizza people won out since there was a pizza place right across the street.
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We should have had seafood!!
 

TheMouseFan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It was still fairly early, so Lily wanted to check out some of the shops in Cocoa Beach. Unfortunately, a lot of them closed at 6! However, Ron Jon's was still open, so we stopped there.
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There was another surf shop also open across the street, but I apparently didn't get a picture and have no idea what it was. Brian found a line of shirts that he enjoyed looking at!
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And this is how Owen felt about all of the shopping!
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We could hear and smell the ocean, so we walked over to briefly check it out.
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We weren't dressed appropriately for the beach, so we headed back to the car to find some dessert! We settled on Dairy Queen and I had the fruity blast dipped cone. This one didn't look pretty, but it was so good!!
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Then it was back to the hotel for an early night!
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
Following along. My family used to vacation in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg when I was younger and it was always so much fun. I remember falling asleep when we were in Gatlinburg and they woke me up for lunch. I was so confused when the menu said NC lol. I've never forgotten that moment :)
 

TheMouseFan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Ah!! We just missed you, and @Tuvalu too....
I know! @ajrwdwgirl was there the same time I was as well. Unfortunately, we never saw them despite my careful watching!
Donald Duck Dancing GIF by Mickey Mouse

So excited that you were able to take your cruise!
Thanks! It was such a great feeling to walk into the atrium of The Dream and hear our name called!
I've been looking forward to this!

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Thanks! I can't wait to share it with everyone!!
 

TheMouseFan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It would have been nice to bump into you. I kept an eye out too.
I didn't figure we would see you since we didn't do any parks, but I was still watching!
I followed on
Logo Insta GIF

but happy to see the full report😉
Yeah, I kind of failed at the Instagram thing once we boarded the cruise!
Following along!
I've never seen a double hotel like that before. Interesting!
Can't wait to hear more.
Thanks! I had never seen one either and there was no indication on their website that it was like that. Check in was at the same desk for both hotels too.
Can't wait to hear everything!!
Awesome Stop Motion GIF by Slanted Studios

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
Thanks! I'll try not to take too long to get through it!
I'm here!! LOVE the opening photo of the fam!
Lets Go Reaction GIF by Leroy Patterson
Thanks! They very begrudgingly allowed me to get several family pics done on the cruise!
 

TheMouseFan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Monday, June 13

Today was our Kennedy Space Center day. Logan was particularly excited for this! In fact, he declared that he may change his major after we spent the day there! Last summer, he took a seminar during his Honors Program orientation at school and said if the engineering thing didn't work out, he would consider changing his major to astrophysics. Well, he is now considering switching from computer science and engineering to aeronautical engineering or astrophysics! We will see what happens, as this year still consists of him taking his general engineering classes such as math and physics and then next year he will start taking more specific classes. Anyhow, we got up and ate breakfast at the hotel which unfortunately did not include Mickey waffles!! We then headed over to KSC. It was a quick 15 minute drive from the hotel.
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The line to get in was a little daunting, but there were really very little crowds once everyone had a chance to disperse.
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We saw the vehicle assembly building that you can see as you sail away from Port Canaveral. It is a massive building!!
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We spent some time in the Apollo/Saturn V Center and saw the rocket that was scheduled to launch that Friday.
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We also ate a very forgettable lunch there before returning to the main complex.
 

TheMouseFan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Then we spent quite a bit of time in the Atlantis building.
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They had a mock space station for kids to crawl through. Logan decided to pass, but Lily and Owen couldn't resist!
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They had a big slide that all 4 of the "kids" had to experience!!
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They had mock ups of different living areas of the shuttles. We had to get toilet pics!! Owen and Logan didn't have nearly as much fun with it as Lily and Brian!
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