east coast Florida Islands of Adventure Pandemic Florida Trip road trip travel Universal Universal Studios

Farewell Florida, Till we see you again – Day 16 and 17

The car was mostly packed the night before. All I had to do was wait for everyone else to wake up and finish packing the car. Well everyone was up by 6. There was only one problem.

I wasn’t able to put all the bags in the car with all the people. Since I couldn’t leave anyone behind, I had to leave my daughter and my bags behind. Not a big deal but I wasn’t planning on stopping back at Fantasy World Resort

Last Day in Florida

My original plan was to drop everyone off at the airport and go right to Sapphire Falls since we would be staying there for at least one day. Oh well, looks like I would have to come back to one resort and pick up our bags. 

Drop off at the airport was easy. Surprisingly, with how big MCO is. The signage was easy to follow. After we dropped the family off it was back to the old resort so we could grab our bags and check out.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Orlando, Florida Hotel, Universal Hotel

Checking out at Fantasy World Resort was a breeze and by 08:30am we were at Sapphire Falls getting ready to check in. As I was walking towards the front desk I had only one thought in my mind. I really hope we don’t go through what we did when we checked into Cabana Bay

I made my way to the front desk and gave them my name. Within minutes we were all checked in. We even had our room already. Today, at Sapphire Falls, we wouldn’t have to wait till the afternoon. We could go right to our room so that is what we did. 

We were not going to make it to the parks before 9 so we wouldn’t get a chance to “beat” the lines. So we checked out the room. Boy did it blow me away. 

This was probably the best room of our trip. While Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek had the better view and the resort had more to offer. This room at Sapphire Falls was perfect. 

The beds were so comfortable. I almost wanted to lay in bed all day instead of going to the parks. The bed was that nice. 

The entire room was amazing. From the desk to beds to the shower with a bench. I think the bench in the shower was my daughter’s favorite thing in the room. 

The best part about everything was the price. I got a sweet deal to stay here for the night. During my stay they had special passholder prices. The price during the off season is $181 a night. During my time in August it was an average of over $210 a night. I ended up paying around $140. What more could I ask for? Not much to be honest with you. 

So after we checked out our room we took a walk to the Water Taxi and headed off to CityWalk. We went through security at the boat dock and before you knew it we were cruising on the water towards CityWalk. It was maybe a five minute ride. Once we got off the boat we headed to Universal Studios. 

We rode some rides. Took some pictures. Rode some rides again.

Now between our last visit to Universal (read about that here) and this one a couple of things had changed. While it was only about a week since our last visit. A lot of things were different. Things were spookier. Hell, Universal was getting ready for the famous Halloween Horror Nights. 

We did so much this morning. Many rides, shops, and photos. Next stop was the hotel and the pool. We just had to check out the pool at Sapphire Falls resort. It did not disappoint us either. 

The pool was amazing. It was a great size and even had a water slide. Only thing it was missing was a lazy river. All of our other hotels in Orlando had a lazy river. Sadly, this one did not. It was still pretty cool though. Plus we could’ve played pool or ping pong around the pool So it wasn’t all that bad. 

After some time at the pool we headed back to CityWalk. It was finally time to try Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. We walked in and checked in with the hostess to get a table. Well…. They had no tables available and were fully booked for the day. I never knew you could make reservations so that was a little bit of a bummer. However, she did say that we could go upstairs and sit at the bar. So that is what we did.

We walked up stairs and sat down at the bar. The bartender was very helpful and got our drinks quickly (Unsweetened tea and a coke). We also ordered a Marshmallow Crisp Milkshake, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and the May contain Bacon Burger. The bartender recommended we get the truffle fries with the burger. 

Now the Milkshake and egg rolls were amazing. I will definitely be ordering the egg rolls again and I will try a different milkshake next time. There are at least 12 different ones to pick from. Plus these things are huge. It is a meal in itself.   

Now the burger was lacking bacon. I guess the may contain bacon just means, Hey, we might remember to put a strip or two on. It wasn’t loaded like I would have expected with a name like that. The truffle fries while they were good. I wasn’t very impressed with them. 

I will be going to the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium again. Next time I will just get the cheesesteak egg rolls and a milkshake. 

After we had an early dinner, we went back into the parks. We rode a couple more rides while we waited for my friend to be available. Remember I picked up the Purple Wall bag for her a couple days ago. Well today I was going to drop it off to her. 

She was heading back to the park from her resort. I got to finally see her outside of her job and I met her son. He too was a huge Harry Potter fan like my daughter. So we talked for about 15 minutes or so and we were off again.

We headed back into the park to pick up a couple last minute things. Not too sure when we will be back again. I want to come around Christmas time but not sure if that will be possible. But I do know I will be making it back at least one more time before my passes expire in August of 2022.

As it started getting later in the day we headed back to the resort to take a dip in the pool one last time. I finally made it official. Today would be our last day in Florida. Tomorrow morning we would wake up and start driving home. Maybe we would make it in one shot. Maybe I would take a stop off somewhere else for a day or two. All I know is I still have 4 more days after today before I go back to work. Anything could happen. 

I do have to say I really liked the look and feel of the pool at Sapphire Falls at night. It had a nice tropical feel to it. If you let your mind go blank for a minute you might even think you are hanging out on one of the Islands. 

After we were done at the pool I packed up the car so all we had to do was wake up and check out and hit the road. The road back to Philly is over 1,000 miles. It will be a long day tomorrow if we take it in one shot. Now it was time for bed and get a good night’s rest. 

Day 17

I ended up waking up a little before 4am. Much to my surprise I felt well rested and wide awake. I ended up waking my daughter up so we could hit the road. We didn’t have to check out at the front desk since everything was done through my phone. 

We made it out of Florida before the sun fully rose. I was already making pretty good time. The traffic was light and the weather was good. The only issue I was having was with my daughter. She broke her phone a couple days earlier and didn’t have too much to do so I gave her my phone to watch movies with. Any idea what she picked to watch? The Harry Potter movies of course. 

While I couldn’t watch the movies (bad thing to do since I was driving). I could listen to them. It did make for an interesting ride home. It also made me really want to watch the movies. I’ve only seen a couple of them and that was years ago and I don’t remember them.

The ride from the Florida Georgia line to Virginia was a good ride. It seemed to take us no time at all. I would stop and fill up and hit the road again. It seemed like it would only take me about 16 hours to arrive home. 

I ended up not hitting traffic until I got outside of Washington, DC. Probably like an hour or so south. Way before the HOV lanes started. Google Maps was quick to reroute me through VA, Maryland, Delaware and back to PA.

I was hesitant on taking the suggested route but it did end up paying off. However, it was a little touch and go for a while. Plus they were doing work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that made the trip over that very interesting. 

I don’t normally have a problem driving over bridges. The Chesapeake Bay tunnel doesn’t bother me like it does for many. But the Chesapeake Bay Bridge while they are working on it. Does make me hold the steering wheel a little tighter. 

The remaining 130 miles were a breeze. Little traffic to worry about. There were some but we didn’t stop at all. Just ended up slowing down to about 25.

I made it home a little before 8:30 at night. It took 15 hours and 39 minutes in total to drive back. That includes stopping for gas and food. As you can see from the picture below we averaged 65 mph. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip home. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip overall. It was a long one but a great one. 

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