Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break - Miami to Orlando

Back on our first day, Parker was a bit apprehensive about getting on the ship as we were sitting in Miami. He kept staring at the lifeboats and was asking questions about them - especially when we had to go up on deck and report to our muster stations for the lifeboat drill. You see they've been studying the Titanic in school, because of its 100th anniversary this year. We were careful to explain that we had plenty of lifeboats and that it was very rare to need them.

Contrast that nervousness with their reaction at having to get off of the ship. Neither child wanted to leave! For several days they had already been making plans for "next time" and asking "could we visit some different countries?" We had to pry them out of the window to leave the room.

We had breakfast and our zone was called for disembarking about 8:30am. By 9:30am we had gotten off the ship, picked up our luggage, made it through customs, gotten the shuttle back to the parking lot and made it onto I-95. We drove for about 4 hours before stopping in Orlando for IKEA. We wanted to stop and stretch and love to eat lunch there. We had kicked around the idea of staying there for the night but had not made reservations. So using an app on our phone for hotwire.com during lunch we scored a cheap motel room - one where they don't reveal the name of the hotel until after you've purchased it. We ended up at the Holiday Inn Express East in Lake Buena Vista, a few miles south of I-4.

We let the boys play for a bit while the grownups rested. Then we had a surprise for the boys - a little Disney magic. We didn't have park tickets but we didn't need them. We drove to Fort Wilderness and parked for free. Then we grabbed a bus from the entrance back to the Meadow Trading Post area.

This is where Chip and Dale host a campfire, sing-a-long and movie night every night for free. The nice thing is you don't have to be a resort guest or have a park ticket to join in on the fun (Debbie did this back when she was in 7th grade and on an outing from summer camp with Grace Christian School). We bought a S'mores kit from the Chuckwagon for about $10 and it had all the fixin's as well as two sticks for roasting marshmellows. The campfire got going at 7:30pm and there were two firepits, one on either side of the area.

Cowboy Anthony came out to lead the sing-a-long at 8:00pm and Chip and Dale came out to greet the folks and sing and dance. Parker got to go up front with all the other kids having March birthdays so that the whole crowd could sing to him (he's in the second picture, all the way over to the left).

Wesley joined him up front later for the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance. Then it was time for the movies to start. First a short Disney classic featuring Donald Duck.

Then it was time for the main event - one of the boys' favorite movies - Disney's Phineas and Ferb Across the 2nd Dimension.

We had brought glow bracelets and sticks for the boys from Wal-Mart in our trusty travel backpack and broke them out during the movie. They had fun playing around with them in the bus after the movie as we headed back to the car.

We spent a leisurely morning together the next day relaxing around town before driving home to Ocala. We had plenty of time to unload, unpack and even tackle some laundry before heading back to work and school the following day.

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