Sunday, May 27, 2012

Florida Vacation Highlights

My husband and I just returned from a vacation to Florida. We stayed at Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter. After spending a week in the hot, humidity of Kentucky and then a week in Florida, it feels wonderful to be back in the cool North. When I'm freezing I just know I'll be eating my words! Seriously though, I couldn't live in the south. The humidity would kill me with my arthritis.

Before I get started I'm going to warn you that this will be a long post. I'm also going to try to keep the number of photos down. We took so many that it would be impossible to post all of them. I'll share some more in a future post.

The orange door was our hotel room...

...and this was the view from the balcony. It was gorgeous!

When we first decided to go to Disney World I was a little skeptical. We took all of our kids in 1998 and my husband took the two youngest back to Universal Studios in 2002. Not being an amusement park enthusiast I opted to stay home for that trip. I'm glad we went back because I had a fantastic time going to shows and just wandering around. I saw many couples without children there (something that I wondered about before going). Aside from having a few issues with my blistered feet, all went well.

I'm just going to share some of my favorite photos from each park that we went to. We arrived in Florida Saturday evening. On Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom. It was a long day with alot of walking. That park is humongous! What I loved was the Kilimanjaro Safaris. It was hard to take pictures because it's Murphy's Law that whatever side of the vehicle you're on, the animals will be on the other side! Here's a snippet of a video I took of a giraffe wandering around:

A few of the animals we saw on the Safari:




My husband went on the ride Expedition Everest. I sat and waited for him and talked to strangers. Here's a another video I took while waiting:

I'm a bird lover so I loved the show Flights of Wonder! I took video of a bird named Groucho and he is just so cute! You can see it here on YouTube. If I ever go back again, I would definitely do the Safari and I'd go to Flights of Wonder a second time.

On Monday we went to Epcot. I don't know if it's just me, but I think in order to take everything in you need to spend two days there. This was our second time and we still didn't get to every country. I really enjoyed Living with the Land. Photos aren't allowed, but it was interesting to see all the experimental greenhouses. I had no idea that most of the produce grown and the fish harvested there is used in the restaurants at Disney World.

They have the cutest topiaries at Epcot!

My husband knows that I'm just a pansy about rides, even virtual ones. They make me dizzy and I end up keeping my eyes closed. He talked me into Soarin', which is a virtual hang gliding experience.  Now for the normal person this wouldn't have been a problem. I didn't know that I would be lifted 40 feet in the air. When I got buckled in, I knew I was going to panic. I held onto the handles tight, my chest was heaving,  and I was shaking. I looked at my husband and asked him just exactly what he had gotten me into. The minute the virtual ride started I closed my eyes. I would try to peek every now and then and it looked beautiful but I just couldn't handle the feeling of gliding. I loved the smell of citrus and pine wafting through the air and tried to calm myself down with the scent. I survived and it wasn't bad, but I did tell my husband that he's lucky he wasn't the victim of projectile vomiting.

We went to SeaWorld Tuesday. This was probably the park I enjoyed the most. If and when I ever go back again I want to see each show multiple times. That's how much I enjoyed myself. I have several videos of the shows on YouTube.

The above photos are from the show One Ocean. 

It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite show at SeaWorld. I loved every one of them! We fed the dolphins and the sea lions. The birds that hang around trying to snatch the fish out of your hands are hilarious.

Sea Lion begging for food.

Wednesday we found ourselves at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I remember liking this park the first time I was there. We went to see the self guided Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. What an incredibly interesting man!

Replica of Walt Disney's office.

Toy Story Mania is one of the hot new games there. I didn't know anything about it, but loved it after going through it the first time. You wear 3-D glasses and are taken through the ride in cars. You shoot at targets to get points. I kicked my husband's butt the first time so of course we went through it a second time just to make sure he could kick mine! And of course he did.

Here's a photo of us with our 3-D glasses on after we went through the ride the first time:

Now the thing I really enjoyed was The American Idol Experience! They have several performances daily where three people compete and whoever wins each session goes on to the finale that night. The winner of the finale receives a "Golden Ticket" - essentially putting them at the front of the line at the actual America Idol auditions. They have three judges who critique them after their performance and then the audience gets to vote. The girl we saw below  was exceptional! Her name is Kendra Howard and she sang Independence Day by Martina McBride. She won the round and went on to perform again at the 7 o'clock show. I would have loved to have stayed to see if she won the "Golden Ticket". Her voice was very powerful. The judges even commented on the same thing.

The three contestants.

Kendra Howard performing.

I do have to say that the drinks were better at DisneyWorld than the food! We ate at the Riverside Resort Boatwright's Dining Hall and I had the same salmon salad with citrus vinaigrette twice. We were a little shocked that we couldn't get reservations anywhere. We ended up eating most of our meals at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. I now know why America is obese! I guess this type of fare is okay once in awhile but I don't want anything "fast food" for quite awhile. Below are some of the drinks we tried.

Chocolate Martini - it was good, but I like the ones I make at home better. The waiter we had even said they weren't great.

My husband had a Blue "Glow-tini" and he said it was very good. It sounded interesting. There was citrus vodka, peach schnapps, blue curaco and pineapple juice in it. The waitress was surprised that we didn't want to keep the souvenir glow cube!

I tried this Key Lime Coconut Martini and it was so delicious and refreshing! I'm definitely going to make one at home.

I tried a Tropical Ginger Lemonade. It sounded better than it tasted. It wasn't bad, but I thought it was a little sweet (even for me!). I did like the taste of the ginger however.

This is a Tropical Mojito. I loved it! This is another one I have to recreate at home. My husband had a Pineapple Upside-Down Martini and I wish I would have taken a photo of it! It looked so delicious I decided to have one. I ordered mine when we sat down for dinner in the restaurant and it didn't look anything like the one my husband received in the lounge.

That's it! There was a hilarious moment in the lounge one day when we returned from the park. There was another couple at the bar and we sat at a table. We sat down with our drinks and I have to say I was so tired and my feet hurt so bad I think I sat there in La La Land. Steve finished his drink and proceeded to get up from the table to go order another before we ate. The tables were very tippy and when he put his hand on it, his glass went flying in the air and he fell over backwards to the floor. Glass went everywhere. I didn't even realize what was going on, but I grabbed the table and my drink didn't even spill. I'll never forget the look in his eyes as he went down. They were like huge saucers. I think he was in disbelief! This is usually something that happens to me, not him. I was sent into fits of laughter. The couple at the bar saw me giggling and the guy said to Steve that he couldn't believe I couldn't quit laughing. Of course by then Steve was laughing and so was the couple. They were at DisneyWorld celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. That just proved to me that it's for everyone regardless of age!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Susie McGuire said...

Great pics Patty. We took our daughter to Sea World in San Antonio, Tx. about 10 years ago. They had some wonderful shows.
Looks like you had a great time! I guess that proves Disney World isn't just for the kids. LOL :)

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