We are back from another amazing family vacation. You all probably know Orlando is one of our favorite travel destinations since we are big amusement park goers. Sometimes we go as a couple and other times we go as a whole family. This time we ALL went and we DROVE! We are from Michigan so 19-20ish hours in the car is quite the drive. Come read about our experiences with the drive and Orlando during early February!
February 4th | Saturday
We left Michigan around 2:00pm. We wanted to drive straight through (19 hours) and we did it! Mostly thanks to my husband. He drove probably 16 hours straight. The rest of us woke up and we were magically in Florida – thanks hunny! I can’t believe how good the kids were too! We downloaded a ton of movies on their iPads and the older girls had their phones. It all worked out great and we saved over $2,000 by driving!
February 5th | Sunday
We arrived to Cabana Bay Beach Resort (we call this our “home resort” because its our absolute favorite!) around 10:00am. We tried to check in early but our rooms weren’t ready, which we figured would happened since check-in isn’t until 4pm. We headed to the pool and lazy river. It felt amazing to get out of the car and into the sun!
Our room was ready by 1 pm so we got all unpacked. I swear Cabana must love us because they always give us the best views on the top floor! This time we went with two conjoining regular rooms instead of a family suite so we could have more room. I LOVED this set up. We kept the doors open between the rooms and had the kids all in one room. It was so nice to not all be crammed into one little space.
Cabana usually has two pool areas. One of them was closed for renovations during our stay, which isn’t a huge deal because of the second pool/lazy river areas AND we are allowed to resort hop. We walked over to Sapphire Falls right across the street. This is another beautiful Universal resort and the pool area was stunning. We spent a lot of time swimming and going down the slide.
We were all in bed by 7:00pm that night – ready for a full week of fun!
@thesoltropsix Universal Vacation Day 1 – Travel day and Pool day! ☀️ #cabanabaybeachresort #universalstudios #orlando ♬ original sound – SONNY TENNET
February 6th | Monday
First day at Universal meant early park entry. This means hotel guests can get in an hour early to the parks. We used this time to get into the Olivander wand experience. The line for this can get pretty long during the day and it was something on my must do list since Harper and Mason had never seen it. Most people run right for Hagrid’s Motorbikes but I’m telling you.. don’t do that! The line gets much shorter during lunch time or in the evening so don’t waste your morning on it.
We walked around so the kids could cast some spells then we got on Forbidden Journey. Let me tell you that I went into this trip thinking Harper and Mason would be scared to ride a lot of things. I was so wrong! They rode everything they were tall enough for pretty much. It’s so much fun when your kids are into rides as much as you are!
We spent most of our time doing all the Harry Potter things in both parks but we did move around a lot. The kids met a ton of characters. We brought autograph books for Harper and Mason to get signed too.
We ending up spending 13 HOURS straight there. The kids waited in lines like little angels with no complaining – I was shocked. I couldn’t have asked for a better day!
@thesoltropsix Day two of vacation spent at Universal Studios ✨ #harrypotterworld #universalstudios ♬ O children by nick cave and the bad seeds – Leah’s man
February 7th | Tuesday
We got up and spent another early day at the parks. We tried to hit all the rides that we didn’t do the previous day. This time we went back to the hotel for a break and some pool time. Later on we got ready and headed back to Universal for the Mardi Gras Parade. That was so fun! Harper and Mason got a lot of attention and a ton of beads from everyone. They enjoyed that.
@thesoltropsix VACA DAY 3 ☀️🌴 #mardigras #universalstudios #orlando ♬ Robbery Juice WRLD – Coby
February 8th | Wednesday
Today was our DISNEY DAY! Although we are always team Universal.. I love my Disney days too. There is something magical there that Universal can’t offer. We decided to do Magic Kingdom since we only had one day here. I bought Genie+ to optimize our time for that reason also.
Genie+ was confusing at first but ended up being worth it for us! We walked on all the big rides and it was CROWDED at the park.
We watched the parades and Enchantment fireworks at the end of the night (yes I cry every time..). By the end of the day we were TIRED.
@thesoltropsixVaca Day 3 – DISNEY DAY! ✨🏰♬ Happily Ever After COVER by Brent Morgan – Brent Morgan
February 9th | Thursday
We had a very slow morning. We slept in, swam and mingled around. We did go back to the parks later in the day. We met a bunch of characters, ate at Voodoo donuts, and rode some rides. The girls even met their childhood favorites which I almost shed a little tear for – haha! They loved Dora the Explorer. 🙁 Harper and Mason are big Spongebob lovers so I’m glad we got to meet them too. We had dinner at the Chocolate Emporium which was lovely. These are my favorite type of days – the slow, go at our own pace days.
@thesoltropsixVaca Day 5!! ☀️☀️♬ original sound – LLOYISO
February 10th | Friday
This was our pool/rest day. We did absolutely nothing but lay around and it was so nice. I don’t even think I took any pictures this day.
February 11th | Saturday
This was our last full day of vacation! We headed to the parks and of course it was way busier since it was Saturday. We tried to get in all our favorites one last time. We rented a stroller this day too because Harper and Mason were wearing out quickly! We had been walking MILES every single day. We ended the day with a night time swim at the hotel.
@thesoltropsix Our last days of vacation 💔 I wish I could stay at our favorite place with my favorite people forever! We even made a little pit stop to Mystic Falls on the way home! 🩸 #universalstudios #mysticfalls ♬ Here With Me – d4vd
February 12th | Sunday
We had breakfast, finished packing up the car and left Orlando around 10:00am. It was so bittersweet. We had another 19 hour ride home ahead of us. The way back home always seems to take longer, am I right? We did make a little pit stop in Covington, GA for my older girls (and myself lol).
This is the home of “Mystic Falls” in the show Vampire Diaries. We all have watched VD multiple times, so its safe to say we are fans. It was dark outside when we passed through but it was still awesome to see the clock tower, the Mystic Grill, and even Elena and Caroline’s houses. Underneath the Mystic Grill is a gift shop dedicated to everything VD. They even had a “museum” area with real props and clothing used in the show. I’m glad we stopped to check it all out!
We ended up arriving home mid-day on Monday. It felt so good to be back home with our pup! I’m so happy how this trip turned out. I honestly didn’t have high expectations due to the long car ride and long park days with little kids. I couldn’t asked for anything better! Can’t wait for our next Orlando family vacation!!
If you’d like to shop some of our Universal/Disney items – CLICK HERE
Check out some of our other trip blogs – HERE