Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Florida - Orlando

A few months ago Jeff was invited to speak at a New York Life convention in Florida. As the stars aligned it happened to fall on the kid's 4 day weekend. We had enough points to get free plane tickets (well we had to pay $100.00) and Jeff even called in a favor to get Disney hopper passes from someone who had connections. So with most of the hotel, travel expenses and food paid for it ended up being quite a nice deal for a speaking assignment. (This isn't normal!) We were happy to enjoy the trip with Jeff.

We started out our trip flying a red-eye out of Los Angeles....with about a 2 hour delay we still got to Florida bright and early. With only 3 1/2 hours or so of sitting up sleep we were all still tired. After breakfast our hotel room still wasn't ready so we pulled out our eye covers and fell asleep in the rental car. 

(There was a guy doing the gardening right next to us, I'm sure we looked like fools but we were so tired we didn't care)

After an hour and 1/2 nap we headed to Disney World to start our day only and hour after the park opened. 

From the transportation center we took a ferry over to Magic Kingdom. 

There is one thing about the Disney parks in Florida. There is plenty of room to make whatever they imagine.  It was wonderful to see all the things they had to offer...the bad thing is everything is sooo spread out and there was tons of walking. We made good use of the stroller this trip. 

We made it to Magic Kingdom...not much sleep but ready to go!

The grounds were beautiful! The castle is more impressive and so are the gardens but this castle you can't go inside and explore. 

I was impressed with the details in the gardens. It happened to be the day after Valentine's Day. I've never been to Disneyland around Valentine's Day but they even had decorations for it!

We tried to go on either rides that were our favorites or on ones that we didn't have. 

We rode Space Mountain which was more jerky and missing the music. Ashley couldn't go because the height requirement was higher than here but that's OK because I thought it was too rough for her. 

We also went on the Peoplemover (I remember that ride when I was a kid), Pirates of the Caribbean, and a Stitch show that was pretty stupid. (I would skip the Stitch ride if anyone asks)

Splash Mountain was closed for repairs but our favorite ride of the day was Thunder Mountain. 

With more space this roller coaster had plenty of track to enjoy! 
Ashley loved it too, she could go on this one!

The last ride at this park was the Haunted Mansion. It looked different on the outside but inside it was pretty much the same. 

One thing we liked was you could choose to go through the graveyard while you were in line and there were tons of interactive things to do while you were waiting. 

After doing some of the major things we wanted to do we headed over to Epcot. 

Right at the beginning we went on a ride that took you back in time showing you the history of communication and it took you all around inside the ball.
We were skeptical but we ended up liking it! 

The kids were kind of getting tired but I wanted to see Epcot. It's one of my favorites... I would love to stroll through all the "countries" look inside the shops, taste a few things here or there (it all smelled so good) but my family doesn't feel the same. 

Basically I had to take what I could get which was mostly walking by the countries as fast as we can with just enough time to take a picture of the outside.

Here is Canada...

England...I would've loved to enjoy those gardens!!


I have to say as I walked by every shop looked so intriguing. They decorate them to make you feel that you are in the country they are trying to portray. 

More beautiful gardens. 


Every arch and doorway invites you in...just had to use my imagination ;)


I remember seeing a drumming show here last time we visited but they were done for the day. 

This building has 5 levels and each one represents and element of the earth...I read as we walked by it.


Originally we wanted to eat here for dinner but the kids had eaten lunch not too long before and they weren't hungry enough for dinner yet...besides they didn't want to sit down in a restaurant. 

They did see the cannoli and gelato stand though and agreed we could stop long enough to enjoy that. 



Its starting to get dark now. They have fireworks at night but I knew the family would never make it!

Inside Mexico.

I remembered that they had a ride in this place so I got the family to stop here. It's pretty cool when you come inside it looks like you are in an outdoor market at night time. 

The ride was pretty slow and a little like a Small world ride mexican style. Jeff was getting tired by this point after sitting down...

Done with walking around the countries we went on the "Test Track" Roller coaster. The car goes up to 65 miles an hour and whips you around on maneuvers and safety tests. It was fun!

Ashley and I waited while the boys went on Mission to Mars which feels like you are really taking off in a rocket. 

Last time I felt a little queasy after so I was more than happy to let Jeff take them. 

After that we said good bye to Epcot and Jeff and I got the kids relaxing in the hotel room while we brought in a pizza. 

I have to say we were all happy to go to sleep that night. 

The next day we got up and headed over to Hollywood Studios 

(It used to be called MGM studios so when Jeff kept asking people about it nobody knew what he was talking about)

It was like a disneyfied version of Universal Studios

Lots more walking than Universal Studios though and no hills! :)  

We went on a couple of rides but missed most of the shows because we were trying to rush through and see as much as we could. 

A show that I'm glad we didn't miss was this one. It was the Lights, Motors, Action extreme stunt show. 

They had impressive car stunts and drivers doing amazing things whipping the car around, stopping on a dime...

and driving on two wheels to name a few. I liked that they showed us afterwards how the cars were rigged to be able to do the things they do and how they did some of the more dangerous looking stunts. 

For the finale a lot of fire was involved. (Here is s person thats burning and they are putting the fire out)

Even though they are just stunts there is still danger!

We also went on the "Backlot tour". Nothing like the one in Universal Studios but it still had some fun things. One of my favorite parts was walking through a room that had a lot of actual props from Disney movies that I remember seeing.

We had a first for Jacob that day....he went on his first loop rollercoaster!!!

It was the Aerosmith coaster. I have never even been on it so I was glad to go with him and Taylor (while Jeff waited with Ashley)   It was funny because I knew that Jacob was nervous but I wasn't trying to talk much about it, we were just trying to get through the line. The lady in front of me had been on the coaster tons of times and was telling us all about it and how it shots off like a rocket, it has three loops and goes on and on...and I could see that Jacob is getting more and more nervous. He said before the ride took off he felt like he was going to pass out. Well he did it! And, he liked it and went on it 2 more times that day. 

Then we all went on the Hollywood Tower of Terror together.

We like the one in Florida because it actually moves away from the elevator shaft before you drop down. 

Getting ready to get in our elevator of doom...Ashley thinks its funny that Jacob is nervous again even though he just went on a big roller coaster. 

Our "picture". Ashley has no problem snuggling up to dad here!

We did it!

On that note we headed over to Animal Kingdom to check out a couple of things. 

The dinosaur ride....

We ate some good barbeque for lunch (it's much less busy here) and checked out the carved animals in the giant tree.

One of the highlights of the day was the Everest Roller coaster! I didn't realize it went backwards until the stranger next to me told he it did in the middle of the ride! Cool ride!

Our last ride at Animal Kingdom was the safari ride. It was actually perfect because it was cool outside and getting to be late afternoon so all the animals were active.

We saw rhinos...

Plains animals...

This is hillarious, the lady behind us kept using her giant Ipad to take pictures and would block 1/2 our shots of the animals. Pretty much most of our pictures have her Ipad somewhere in them.



and Jeff got a pretty good picture of the lion. They said the lions sleep from 16 to 20 hours a day so we were lucky to get them awake!

Here is a far away view of Everest. We said goodbye to Animal Kingdom and went back to Hollywood studios to finish up our day and get our car.

We lasted through the Indiana Jones stunt show and the boys went on the rollercoaster again and they everyone was done.

It was cold and we had an hour and 1/2 drive to Tampa to get to our next hotel.


Unknown said...

Great photos, Christine! Thanks for sharing your adventures

Sarah Osborne said...

So much fun! I want to see Disney world so bad! Good for you guys for doing it the same day as a red eye flight. I would have crashed!