of J.B. TOLS.
I am an interior designer, photographer, blogger, advocate, adventurer, and mom to five boys. I love advocating for others and exploring new places--both near and far.

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Jennie

June 2, 2022

Home » Blog » TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD

It is easy and convenient to do, both, a trip to St. Augustine and Disney World, Florida. It actually ended up saving me some money to start in St. Augustine and end in Orlando, to be honest. Not only was it cheaper to fly out of Orlando versus Jacksonville, but I saved hundreds of dollars by returning our rental car to the Orlando hub versus back to the Jacksonville hub.

Our trip to St. Augustine and Disney World was during the 2020 pandemic. So, we were iffy about whether to take a trip or not, but eventually decided to go, anyway. And, I am so glad that we did. While there wasn’t a lot open for us to do, we did have great time together as a family. I invite you to see what we were able to do and view our images from the trip.

FLYING DURING DURING A PANDEMIC

Our vacation was not a typical Florida vacation because of traveling in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actually, we traveled during what some people are coining the “second wave” of the virus. Many things were open, but we were back to wearing masks, social distancing and the closure of some government or state ran facilities and sites.

We decided to fly. My youngest son had never flown before. So, since it was an inexpensive option for us, I decided to make this part of the adventure.

I half expected the plane to be empty—especially traveling to Florida, which was reported to have record-breaking cases of the corona virus, statewide. However, our plane appeared to be to capacity with people heading to the Sunshine state. We were required to wear masks, however, we were still sitting side-by-side with the person next to us without any special precautions in place. I wasn’t concerned, really; I just found it interesting considering that some events were being banned based on social distancing guidelines.

The airport in our home state had a lot of restaurants closed down. I was unable to get a Starbucks—or anything else for breakfast–when we arrived. However, the Charlotte, North Carolina airport had food options open and the Jacksonville, Florida airport had the same. Lucky for me, I do not typically eat until after 10 am anyway. So, I was able to manage until we got to our final destination.

4 TIPS FOR FLYING DURING A PANDEMIC

  • If you are especially anxious about flying, just stay home or drive to your destination. No need to cause any drama.
  • Bring several masks. You may need more than one, in case one is lost, dropped or soiled.
  • Bring hand sanitizer
  • Plan to bring snacks and water in case restaurants and shops are closed down. Also, airplane companies are only providing small bagged treats that don’t amount to much. So, don’t count on anything once you have boarded your plane.

ARRIVING IN ST. AUGUSTINE

We flew into Jacksonville and rented a car to drive to St. Augustine. It was about an hour drive from the airport to our condo.

Upon arriving, our number one goal was to eat and then get to the beach. We had our first meal at Hurricane Grill & Wings. It is a small-ish restaurant in the corner of a strip mall, but the food was very good.

Prior to arriving to Florida, I had heard all kinds of scary tales through social media about how Florida was managing the virus. I was pleased to find that everywhere that we went in St. Augustine required that you wear a mask to enter. I felt plenty safe–just as safe as I felt in my hometown. A Florida vacation during a pandemic was not the best decision, at first, but, it turned out to be quite the blessings.

VIDEO: PLAYING IN THE POOL

HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA

My youngest son and I visited Historic St. Augustine on our fourth day here. A lot of the shops were shut down because of the Corona Virus. The famed Fort was closed, as was Fort Katanza. I needed to use the restroom and we needed to get a map of the area. So, we decided to park at the Visitors Center parking garage. It cost $15 to park there. It was a nice, shaded option in a secure location. So, if you intended to stay the entire day, this was a great choice. However, since we were not there to eat and a lot of the things we would want to see were closed down, it probably was not the best choice, financially, for us.

The visitors center was nice. It is a very large building with displays of artifacts inside; and, they had very nice, clean public restrooms.

Once parked, we walked along St. George Street which is a brick road that is for pedestrians, only. This street is entirely lined with shops and small restaurants. There were a handful of restaurants and shops closed because of the Corona Virus; it was still nice and quaint, though. We live in a small tourist town. So, while it was a pleasant visit, it didn’t hold the same wonder that it will hold for someone who will see it with fresh eyes.

Of course, it was very hot and we were wearing masks. So, we were ready to get back to the pool after and hour or two.

If you decide to visit St. Augustine during a time when there is NOT a pandemic, there are so many wonderful historic sites to see. Some of the highlights are:

  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
  • St. Augustine Lighthouse
  • Fort Mose Historic State Park
  • Saint George Street
  • Bridge of Lions
  • The Oldest Wooden School House
  • Anastasia State Park
  • Saint Augustine Fort
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument

BEACH TIME: FAMILY PICS OF OUR TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE

My middle son was in Florida visiting his girlfriends family. So, they came down and spent the night with us near the end of our trip to St. Augustine.

A couple on the beach of St. Augustine, Florida | J.B. TOLS | A Florida vacation during a pandemic

We are a big board game family. Staying in a condo is nice because we can sit around the dining room table to have some good old fashion family time.

VIDEOS AT BEACH

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SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS IN ST. AUGUSTINE

I have always wanted to swim with dolphins. It was never something I could afford when the older kids were all little. Now that I just have Silas at home a lot of things have become affordable for me. So, when I saw that this aquatic facility was still open during the pandemic, we scheduled a dolphin experience.

It was expensive. We paid almost $200 per person because we paid to have the more one-on-one experience.

It wasn’t until the experience was completed that I was able to reflect on it the whole situation. I started to do research on the effects on captive dolphins. I am not sure that I would do it over again knowing what I know now.

Dolphins jumping in St. Augustine, Florida

OUR TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD

Again, my youngest son, Silas, has had to miss out on so many big family trips with all of his siblings. Until this trip, he was the only one of eight kids who had not been to Disney World. So, I was determined to get him there, even if it was just for the weekend.

So, we decided to at least start with two lands.

Since Silas is also a huge Star Wars fan, visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and then Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is a land that HAS to be experienced. My worries were that Silas had already become too old for Disney, but I think that he had a great time.

We stayed in The Disney Pop Century Resort. The room was very small, but it was very clean and nicely decorated (as anything Disney is) and it was one of the more affordable hotels to stay in within the Disney campus.

I am always the person to do my best to find cheaper hotels outside of the park to save money. But, I wanted things to be s convenient as possible since we were only going to be there for two days.

The boys at the entrance of The Magic Kingdom at Disney World | J.B. TOLS | TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD
Race cars in Magic Kingdom | J.B. TOLS | TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD
in our race car in Magic Kingdom | J.B. TOLS | TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD
Silas driving a race car | J.B. TOLS | TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD

No Disney World trip is complete without a ride on Its A Small World. I told Silas that we couldn’t end our day until he experienced one of the most quintessential rides of Walt Disney World. And, it is exactly the same way that I remember it from when I was just a small girl. I am sure that the dolls were the originals dolls, too.

After a wonderful day in Magic Kingdom, we finished our visit with dinner at The Rain Forest Café in Disney Springs.

VIDEO: IN DISNEY


I hope that you enjoyed getting a view into our trip to St. Augustine and Disney World.


ST. AUGUSTINE BUDGET BREAKDOWN


If you would be interested in reading about other trips with expense budgets, please check out the following links:

Asheville, North Carolina and Amelia Island, Florida (no budget info)

Colorado Springs RV Trip- Just Mom and the Boys

Las Vegas, Nevada

Read about How To Spend 8 Days In France On A Budget

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TRIP TO ST. AUGUSTINE AND DISNEY WORLD

  1. […] If you would like to read about our trip that included Disney, as well, you can read about it at FLORIDA VACATION DURING A PANDEMIC. […]

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