Florida Vacation Day 11

Dear Readers,

Today was Hollywood Studios. We were all pretty tired this morning and it was difficult to get my daughter out of bed. So, we decided early today to take tomorrow off and hopefully do Epcot Friday after a day of rest. Anyway, today was probably the best day we had in terms of being able to see everything, get tons of FastPasses, my daughter’s enjoyment maximized and even being able to not only see Fantasmic at the end of the evening but then we caught the park’s Star Wars Fireworks show as we were leaving the park. Fantasmic was pretty awesome, with our section in the amphitheatre having a little party of our own. We all did the wave, were clapping and singing along with the songs the dj played over the sound system and just had a great time.

This morning we registered my daughter to do the Jedi Training Trials of The Temple and since she had a 2:10 show time, we went from there to a bunch of other things and made it a fantastic day. My husband and I were chatting about him going to a the Aerosmith Rollercoaster that he had put us all on Fastpass-wise and how we’d meet him afterward, when a cast member overheard us. He told us to wait where we were, then came back a few minutes later with three free FastPasses! We were surprised and pleased. Today we saw Muppet Vision 3D, The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, One Man’s Dream (The Walt Disney story walk through), The Path of The Jedi, and Voyage of The Little Mermaid as well as Beauty and The Beast – Live On Stage. My husband and I were chatting with one of the cast members (that’s what they call all Disney parks staff) while we were waiting for the Little Mermaid show and the next thing we know, not only does our daughter get to be the cast member’s ‘second mate’ and say ‘Welcome To The Show’ to everyone in the room after his safety speech, but she also got a beautiful certificate with the signatures of Ariel and Prince Eric and her name done with the cutest little Mickey ears. It was super cute and my daughter was so pleased.

We went on the Toy Story Mania! 4-D ride and had a lot of fun on that. We went on the Star Tours simulation ride where my daughter was worried before we got on and then afterwards loved it so much she wanted to go again, and where I enjoyed myself but felt totally nauseous afterward. But would I do it again? Heck yeah! But next time I’d be wearing seabands because I was starting to sweat by the end of the ride. It was so much fun seeing C-3P0 and R2-D2. R2-D2 was the pilot of the ride and C-3P0 was the co-pilot. What a fun ride! My daughter also had a surprise when Stitch snuck up behind us while we were waiting in line for something and ‘licked’ her cheek. So of course, we got a couple pictures of her with him. She also got pictures with the Jawas as well as Chewbacca (she felt pretty shy when she realized just how tall he was) and finally Moana. We saw parts of the March of The First Order (Star Wars) show, went on The Great Movie Ride and pretty much the only things we didn’t go on were The Hollywood Tower of Terror and we skipped For The First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration.

My favourite part of Hollywood Studios though, had to be hanging out at Muppet Studios and being surrounded by everything related to my favourite characters, The Muppets.

What an absolutely incredible day. We saw all the shows we wanted to, went on the rides we were hoping to, the lines were short and we had perfect weather. Pretty much the perfect Disney Day. My daughter is in bed, dreaming of being a Jedi in Training and defeating the Seventh Sister and all the characters she met. Moana even gave her a hug! She also has an Honorary Jedi pin to go with her 1st Visit Disney pin.

She told us that her top three favourite things she did today were: The Jedi Training, Star Tours and Fantasmic. All pretty good choices in my opinion. Fantasmic had a wonderful ending. Just, totally perfect. Wish I’d been able to get better pictures for memories but at least I got some and I’ll try to commit the rest to memory. If I could, I would just go back and watch Fantasmic again.

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So, tomorrow is a rest day where we’ll see about getting a couple Disney souvenirs and do some swimming then we gear up for Epcot on Friday.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!

Amy McGuire

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Florida Vacation Days 9 and 10

Dear Readers,

Yesterday we had a fantastic time at Animal Kingdom. We saw many animals, watched great shows like Finding Nemo The Musical and Festival of The Lion King, and went on a few rides.

Lots of walking and checking out everything. We took the Maharajah Jungle Trek where we saw pacing tigers, magnificent wild birds of every size and hue and saw huge winged bats hanging from branches.We all went on the Kilimanjaro Safari Tours in the morning and then again in the evening. My husband and his mom went on the Mt. Everest rollercoaster. My daughter did a scavenger hunt for badges and ended up with 22 by the end of the day and learned a lot about animal and habitat conservation into the bargain.

Of all the things we saw though, the Okapi was the most spectacular. I hadn’t seen another one since I was very young and living in Africa, so it was a real treat to be so close to one and get so many shots and videos.

Today was Magic Kingdom. We all went on Splash Mountain, my daughter and husband went on Space Mountain, we all saw Mickey’s Philharmagic in the 4D theatre, my daughter and husband went on the Crazy Tea Party teacup ride, Prince Charming’s Castle and we all went on Haunted Mansion as well as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride.

I really enjoyed our tour of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. I took many, many more pictures than those below, but these few give you an idea of the incredible attention to detail that was put in this. I’m guessing the creation of this particular attraction had to have taken a couple years at least.

 

One ride I have always wanted to go on was Pirates of The Caribbean. Well, let me tell you, if that was the only ride in all of Disney World, I would be okay with going on it over and over again. What a blast!

My daughter and husband went on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, we saw The Enchanted Tiki Room show as well as enjoyed going on It’s A Small World twice, and we saw the Main Street Festival Parade.

We did so many rides and shows that it’s all a bit of a blur. Thank goodness for digital cameras. My daughter also got to be in a play and met Belle. We took the Jungle Trek by boat and got to listen to some cheesy puns while seeing some great animatronic animals. That was a lot of fun.

 

We pretty much did every ride we wanted except Peter Pan’s Flight, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain. We saw Pluto from a distance as well as Minnie and when we came in the gate, we were able to watch the tail end of That’s How You Know from Enchanted. The Main Street Festival Parade near Cinderella’s castle was pretty cool. At one point we also decided to climb all over The Swiss Family Robinson tree house and see all the props from the movie right up close. Well, replicas but it was still pretty cool. My favourite ride in Magic Kingdom was The Pirates of the Caribbean. By far the best ride in the park in my opinion.

I would say without a doubt that Magic Kingdom is the crown jewel of Disney World. There was so much to do and see and I could have easily gone back for a second day.

We ended our day with a ferry ride back to the mainland, just as the sun was setting. Here are a few pictures, some clear, some not so clear, but all evoking memories already.

Tomorrow we go to Hollywood Studios and we’re talking about Epcot on Thursday. Sorry this is a short post, but my daughter is just finishing her bath and I need to get her to bed. Tomorrow is another crazy, awesome day.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!

Amy McGuire

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Florida Vacation Day 8

Dear Readers,

Today I got to sleep in a little, then my daughter came to my room and asked if she could watch TV. So, I got out of bed and crawled onto the pull out couch where I half dozed while she watched Finding Nemo and snippets of Teen Titans because they have Disney Channel in Florida, included in the price of staying our lovely resort. And it is a really nice resort. There are six heated pools throughout a really large acreage. There is a huge recreation pavilion with board games, puzzles, a couple nice lounges and a room where kids can play video games on large tv’s, but of course, we won’t be using that particular amenity.

After snuggling and snoozing, we all got up and my daughter went with her dad down to the recreation pavilion where they were supposed to participate in a game called the Amazing Chase where they run all over the grounds finding clues and eventually get a prize.  Except, no one else showed up, so they won the prize just for participating. A coupon for a free large pizza in the local restaurant. If course, I didn’t know this until after I went shopping with my in-laws and came back with an extra large pizza from Aldi’s. On the way back, we stopped at a fruit stand and got a small pint of fresh Florida strawberries to take back to the resort. Those were met with happy faces all around in our group. We also saw grove after grove of orange trees heavy with fruit. What would it be like to have an orange tree? Amazing I bet.

After a late lunch, I joined my daughter at the clubhouse pool where we played Family Trivia and much to my amazement, our little group won. And what did we win? A little bag of candy which included tootsies rolls, rockets and sugar sticks, as well as a squishy rubber toy and get this…another coupon for a large pizza! So…we’re going to be eating a LOT of pizza this week.

Well, it’s getting late and I am going to bed so I won’t be exhausted before we even get started. Hoping to write about tomorrow in the evening. My daughter is asleep on my bed and soon my husband will transport her to the couch so hopefully we all get a good night’s sleep. More tomorrow!

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

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Florida Vacation Day 7

Dear Readers,

Today was a travel day but since the resort we were staying at this past week allowed their patrons to stay until afternoon after we checked out, we were able to enjoy the water slide, lazy river, pool and hot tub for a little longer. I actually went down the slide a fourth time and this time my father in-law took a picture, so I have proof that I did it.

See? Proof!

We enjoyed a picnic lunch after a wonderful time in the water, then decided to take a hike along the jetty. Glad we did, because we got to see some pelicans up close, watched a bunch of people fishing and on the way there we all got to see the feral cat colony (two of the cats anyway) as well as a whole bunch of vultures.

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It was a good day of travel, relaxation and sightseeing. We saw an aquarium at the Cocoa Beach Gift Shop, had some frozen yogurt a little ways down from there at a place called I Dream of Yogurt, and eventually ended up at Summer Bay in Orlando.

My daughter discovered that there was a movie playing at 7pm by the pool, so she and Grandma went and checked it out while I unpacked and dealt with a key that wasn’t working for the first half hour. After that I joined them and we watched The Jungle Book (the 2016 version) before bringing my daughter back and tucking her into her Grandma’s bed while I finished unpacking. For the first time in ages she fell asleep in moments. I expect she will be pretty tired each night this week with all our Disney trips, so hopefully she will be getting some good rest while we are here. Looking forward to a fairly restful day at our resort tomorrow as well as getting some planning done for our trips to Disney. For now though, I’m going to bed and hopefully sleep in for the last time until possibly Friday morning.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

Disclaimer: All the quality shots in this post were by my father in-law.

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Vacation Day 6

Dear readers,

Today was the last full day at our resort. What a great last day. Even though it rained off and on, we still had tons of time in the pool, lazy river and I went down the water slide three times! Thank you to everyone who prayed for courage. I was shaking like a leaf all three times, but I still went up those stairs and never stopped until the top and the last two times I just went, not even thinking about it. Everyone said it’s a tame slide, not too fast, but it was fast enough for me. Anyway, I kept my promise to my daughter and she was so thrilled that she went down again about four or five more times before we all took a turn on the lazy river.

 

After the lazy river we all went back to the condo for a late lunch of leftovers. After lunch it was time for my daughter to go to the photo scavenger hunt and Grandma and I went around the resort with her, crossing off items while she took pictures on her iPad. That was a real treat for her, and afterwards she got a prize that she decided to give to her cousin. The sweet kid is using all the prizes she has won at all the activities all week as souvenirs for her younger cousins. So sweet.

 

After the scavenger hunt I decided I’d had enough of waiting for the rain to stay away for a large amount of time and went out to the beach to return a few shells and try and find a few nicer ones. On the way I was lucky enough to see a gorgeous black and white cat from the local feral cat colony. I got about four feet away before it turned and casually strolled into the bushes. I then got about two feet away while it watched me from the bushes and then continued to stroll away. It didn’t look mangy or skinny – obviously well cared for by the resort staff.

 

After seeing the cat, I hiked along the boardwalk out to the sand and it immediately began to sprinkle. I was wearing my hat which kept my head dry but as it continued to rain I just made a decision to go anyway. As my mother used to say, I’m not made of sugar; I won’t melt. It poured but I just decided not to care and the rain wasn’t too cold and I had my bare feet in the surf so I knew I’d be wet. I’m glad I stuck it out though, because I made it to the jetty and found a few spiral shells, a whole coquina shell, some limpets and even a shark’s eye shell in a shell deposit among the boulders. On the way back to the boardwalk I spotted three Man O’ War jellyfish washed up on the beach, watched the tide pull one of the jellyfish into the sea and stood on the sand with the sun at my back watching Majesty of The Seas leave Port Canaveral with a guard boat alongside. There was a surfer a ways out that I got to watch surfing and wiping out and resurfacing. There were pelicans flying over the waves, sandpipers eating something as the waves went out and the same snowy egret I’ve seen twice now, bobbing around in the surf, fishing.

 

After the beach I came back, we played Fibbage 2 on our laptops and my daughter’s iPad and then had dinner. Now I’m blogging after giving my daughter a bath, getting her to bed and having a relaxing bath myself. I’ve packed everything I can for tonight and we’re all ready to go. Tomorrow we get up early to pack the car and check out of our resort by 10am. The best part is, we don’t have to leave right away. Since our second resort is only 45 minutes to an hour away and we don’t have to check in until 4, we’re going to hang out at the water park here for awhile, have a relaxing lunch and go to the aquarium beside Ron Jon’s Surf Shop before we make our way to Orlando. I am really enjoying this relaxed pace.

 

Here’s some pictures of a gecko I saw today.

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

 

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Vacation Day 5

Hello readers,

Today was a day with very little pictures, none of which will be posted today since they include other family members. Anyway, today was quite a restful day. We started off by swimming in the pool, going down the lazy river and my daughter and I played in the water park. No beach trip today, as it rained a couple times but we did play a round of mini golf (which I won. Beat my husband at mini golf for the first time in our fifteen year relationship…so I was pretty proud of myself) and during the second rain we stayed inside and play QuipLash. Then it was time to go out again and try the water slide. I admit with shame, that I just couldn’t get up the two and a half story twisting staircase to go down the water slide. It’s a slow one so I’m told but the height is where I balked. I’ve been told I have to go down tomorrow and my heart is in my throat. I am really, really scared. If you’re a praying person, please pray for courage. It seems small, but I really need to conquer this fear or I can’t help my daughter get over her fears.So, pray for me and wish me luck. Tomorrow I am getting up to the top of that slide and hopefully not passing out halfway down.

Sorry today’s blog isn’t very exciting. It was a fairly relaxing day though. Hard to believe our week of vacation in Cocoa Beach is almost over.

Well, until next time, keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire

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Vacation Day 4

Dear readers,

Vacation is flying by. From our balcony I can see that the moon is almost full. The sky has a few clouds so hopefully tomorrow will be relatively sunny. This morning my daughter and I went shell seeking on the beach and found some really nice ones. On a hunch we looked between the boulders on the jetty where the tide had gone out and found the biggest non broken shell I have ever seen in Florida, plus a few others. We saw a few seagulls, a pelican and got really close to the same snowy egret I saw yesterday. My daughter tried her hand at photography (and I will post those pictures of course) and after being at the beach for quite a while, dipping our toes in the surf, Grandma and Grandpa walked along the beach toward us and shortly afterward we headed back to the resort so that my daughter could participate in some games. After that we all swam for quite awhile and then enjoyed the lazy river and hot tub. Then there was the kids’ treasure hunt and finally, mini golf. Shortly we will be having dinner and then most of the family will go grocery shopping while I put my daughter in the bath and get her ready for bed. Again, so hard to believe another day has flown by. Very grateful we have two weeks of vacation.

 

Until next time, keep dreaming and never give up!

Amy McGuire

 

 

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