We have just got back from the very hot and sunny Florida. We went away for two weeks with Daddy M's parents again just like two years ago, but did things differently this year. We learnt from what went well and what didn't with three generations under one roof from our holiday together two years ago. The main thing was that second car... its a must so we can do different things and get our own space. As much as I love them, its great to get out and about just the four of us too, for example Disney World.
We hired a villa which had its own pool and Jacuzzi which was upgraded to an extra bedroom when we arrived (we had a room just for suitcases!).
Us M's brought Disney tickets whilst Grandma and Grandad decided to geocache and bird watch instead. We all had sea world tickets and Daddy M and myself upgraded ours to the discovery cove experience too. So this is a brief description of what we got up too, before I forget. Much more detail and LOTS more photos to come (I took over 1,600), and maybe a you tube video too...
Day one - This consisted of the flight out. We made the most of booking the V-Room with Virgin so the kids could play in comfort, and we could have an all you can eat breakfast and drink in comfy seats and not have to worry about finding somewhere for the two-three hours between checking in and the flight. We got soaked going from the car park to the airport and the staff happily took S's socks and shoes and stuck them in a warm cupboard to dry them out before we boarded the plane which meant happy child which of course meant happy parents. The flight was just over nine hours.
Once we arrived we were one of the first through immigration BUT having a desk where the computer crashed and the guy just hitting the keyboard again the desk instead of actually doing anything about the actual computer meant we were stood there for ten minutes before I casually asked can we not go to another desk? Another five minutes passed and he granted us to use another desk. You don't want to mess with American immigration, but that was ridiculous... and the just the start... we were then at the back of the full plane and another full plane so the queues were astronomical. We also had to keep showing our passports over and over again. Car hire was seamless with Virgin holidays but as we booked another car with Alamo we had to check in for that. What a shambles. Alamo will be getting a complaint about this as its not a great start to America, and not the warm welcome we received last time. I will give Alamo a chance to comment before I state what actually happened.
We eventually made it to our villa, and was very pleased with what we could call ours for the next two weeks. We needed to carry the girls in and put them to bed before they even saw it. It was a very long day.
Day two- The girls woke bright and early. Very early. So early I managed to squeeze a run in before 6am. This day was an admin kind of day. Paper work and insurance needed to be taken care of. (We needed the insurance on our last holiday when J turned ill and threw up hot chocolate all over a cream carpet, worth the peace of mind). Shopping at Wal-Mart was also on our agenda. J was shocked to find guns in a supermarket. I was more shocked that they weren't allowed to sell spirits and needed to go to a different store next door for my vodka hit.
We were then able to relax by the pool.
Day three - We eventually make it to Disney. We chose to go to Hollywood studios on this day. Last time we visited we only visited once, this year we went three times, mainly because one ride took over two hours to queue for. Never again will we queue that long... so much for the ride time notifications at the start of a ride! (it stated 40 minutes - our cut off time for a ride queue) We did see buzz and woody again though, and introduced S's beloved Jinxy to them. Last time S fell asleep for the meet and greet.
|Wow... they have grown!|
Day four- Our first visit to Magic Kingdom. The girls loved meeting Anna and Elsa.
J made it on to the snow white ride which we saw being built last time. S freaked out and refused to ride, so instead we introduced Jinxy to the wicked step sisters.
Day five- Another visit to Hollywood studios, this time we went later in the day so we could enjoy the pool. Like I said previously it was hot, in the 30'C's so was nice to cool down a little in the water. We made the most of the darkness by visiting the famous Christmas lights, Fantasmic show, and of course the Anna and Elsa sing along.
Day six- We ventured to SeaWorld for the very first time. We were amazed at the park and the lack of crowds. We loved it. We paid for the girls to have a dolphin experience to make up for us swimming with dolphins and not them. J really wanted to swim with the dolphins but was happy with touching them and "training them".
Both girls were also mesmerised my Shamu and his friends in the whale show.
Day seven- Daddy M and myself went off to Discovery Cove to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We always said that we would return back to the Dominican on our 5th anniversary as we went their for our honeymoon, but Florida just seemed a little more family orientated... well until S is old enough for the kids club! We enjoyed swimming with dolphins but the snorkelling stole the show for me. We managed to get prescription goggles for us so we could see everything clearly with no extra cost. Something I have never been able to do before.
The girls enjoyed a pool day with Grandma and Grandad.
Day eight- Animal kingdom... on a Saturday. Busy, busy, busy. I didn't enjoy Animal kingdom as much as I thought I would as it was just crowded. We did manage the safari thanks to fast pass, but we did head home just after spending a small fortune on lunch. Before we headed home though we managed to have a dance with Mickey. This was great as J was getting in a "just take a photo and I will move on" phase, Mickey picked up on this and took her out of her pose and actually spent the time interacting and bringing back the magic.
Day nine- We loved SeaWorld so much we headed back again. J's holiday wish was to get soaked by Shamu and she got her wish. We went prepared with spare clothes and a towel and she managed to get front row seats on one of the best animal shows I have seen.
Day ten- I am after a Garmin Vivo Active watch for Christmas so I can track my activity and my runs so headed to the malls to compare the price. For once back home is cheaper. Whilst at the malls the girls saw a Father Christmas and waved at him. He then beckoned the girls over and sat them on his knee. The girls were mesmerised by his stories of the Ice princesses and left with a present despite us saying we haven't paid. As long as we didn't take photos, it was ok. The look on their faces was amazing as it made it so more personal being called into his grotto from afar rather then queuing and paying for it.
In the evening we saw the Disney fireworks at Magic Kingdom. We found our spot just after 6pm and it was our home for the next three hours for parades, shows and the fireworks. Its a must for at least one evening of the holiday.
Day eleven- A relaxation day was needed away from the crowds so we hit the beach. a 90 minute drive away and we hit St Pete's beach. We spent the whole day there picking Whelks up from the seabed and playing in the sand.
Day twelve- With the SeaWorld tickets we also got Busch Gardens so headed there to explore. The rollercoasters again had no queues so Daddy M LOVED it. The girls were mesmerised at how close they could get to the animals. J also had a moment with a lion.
Day thirteen- We said goodbye to Magic Kingdom this day and made the most of getting to the park early for the quieter queues. Although queuing for over 30 minutes isn't quiet for me, it has got so much busier since two years ago.
Day fourteen- We asked the girls what they wanted to do on their last day. We almost went to SeaWorld again but the pool called to us. All day long in the pool. Relaxing. A perfect way to end a busy holiday before flying back on day fifteen.
Keep tuned for lots more posts on this holiday full of memories!