Christmas in Florida
We decided to go to Florida for Christmas this year. And we decided, or more I decided, that we would drive there. I got the "huh?" when I said let's take the van! So I had to talk Mr. M into how fun it would be. See, I hate to fly, with a passion. Am scared shitless of it. In fact, I have to take drugs, a lot of drugs, to get me on a plane. Enough where I end up snoozing the whole time and walk around airports in a haze. I blame working for an aerospace company years ago. I did end up getting my way and we did drive the 32 hour trek to Florida. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. It's not that the company was bad. It's not that my almost 10 year old kept asking the typical, "are we there yet?", cause he didn't. It's not that we got lost. I had mapped everything out and the directions were fantastic. It's because it was 32 HOURS. Way too long to be in a car. Way too long. We slept for two hour stints at rest stops along the way. Even slept for an hour in a McDonald's parking lot before we went in for breakfast. By the time we got to our destination, Winter Haven, Florida, we were walking like we were 90 years old. Once we checked in and got into our suite, we saw the view and it made it all worth it.
Then we realized... we have to drive home.
Our suite was nice. Yes, needed upgrading, but it was clean. The bathroom was very modern. Sitting on the porch overlooking the pool and the lake... priceless. Plus the porch was screened in.. added bonus. Though I did sit a lot outside on the patio and there were no bugs.
The temperature the whole week we were there was in the 70's. Perfect for me. I hate it when it gets super hot. Good enough for the B-man, as he could still swim.
The first full day there, we went to Legoland. It's right in Winter Haven, so it was about a 3 minute drive from where we were staying. The park was great and it was pretty cool to see all the displays made out of Lego. Even though I've never been interested in Lego, it was pretty amazing. The boy loved it. We were there the whole day. Crowds weren't too bad, though the food was mediocre and it was over priced. But then it's a theme park, so we were expecting that.
Some other fun pics from Legoland...
We went to Universal Orlando. I had really wanted to go to Bubba Gump's for lunch as I had been to that restaurant in Minneapolis years ago and remember liking it a lot. So as soon as we got into the park, we stopped for lunch. After waiting 20 minutes for our server to come and introduce herself and take our drink order, we weren't impressed. Another 15 minutes for her to come back and take our food order. Almost an hour after being seated, our lunch arrived. It was awful. I make better shrimp. None of the meals were good at all. We also paid a ridiculous amount of money for my want of seafood. Never again will we eat there.
After lunch, we headed into where the rides were. Line ups were crazy and I kicked myself for not buying an epress ride pass for each of us. The wait time for the Dispicable ride was over 2 hours. So we went across to the Transformer's ride after we hit the Transformer shop and B-man bought a couple of items. Got in line and waited... and waited...and finally get inside the building only to wait some more. The lines took you in a maze in different parts of the building. Just when you thought the line was done, you turned the corner, and there was more lines. We ended waiting almost 2 hours for that ride. Well worth it though. The 3D was amazing. I had my eyes closed after the first couple of minutes 'cause I don't like 3D and I laughed the whole time. Always happens on scary rides, I can't stop laughing. Which made my son start laughing too, though he was laughing AT me for having my eyes closed the whole time.
When the ride was done, the boys did the Men in Black ride, the Mummy ride (which they said was the scariest of them all), the Shrek ride and we all did the Disaster ride. It was more fun than scary.
We ended the day eating at Hard Rock Cafe and it was very good. Had an awesome server! He made it so much fun.
A few pics from the day...
All in all, was a great way to spend Christmas Eve.
When we got back to the suite that night, we decided to open our stockings. Because we had decided the trip was our present to all of us, I only bought stocking stuffers. They still got spoiled. Brady got some Mindcraft stuff, a movie, a calendar, chocolates, a couple of books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid journalling books, a rebound ball that lights up, and a spy watch. Kev got a book, a handyman magazine, chocolates and candy, and a few other little things. I received a decorating magazine, a magnet, a sparkly loufah, chocolate and candy etc.
I think we started a new tradition by doing the stockings on Christmas eve.
Day 3.. Christmas day...
We went to Epcot Center. My pic of all the theme parks. I had heard how great it was. So that's where we went. Yes, it was pretty. But it was like a glorified Folkarama and to me, not worth the money. Food was crazy epensive. The crowds were in the tens of thousands. We couldn't see the candlight processession nor the fireworks at the end of the night because there was too many people. And they were so rude. Wish we had gone to Sea World instead. Even though I could hardly take all the pictures I wanted, I was able to manage to get a few...
After much begging, bribing and then finally threatening... I was able to get Brady to take a pic with Ole St. Nic at the United Kingdom exhibit
Day 4.. Boxing Day and Day of Rest..
We could barely move. Kev and I were so stiff from walking non stop the last 3 days, we needed to rest. And rest we did. I sat on the porch, took a nap, the boys watched tv, played on the iphones and ds. We snacked on easy items all day.
Day 5.. Outlet Mall
In the cities in the States, we found that the freeways would get traffic jams. And we got stuck in a few. We would pass the time trying to guess the reason for the hold up.. accident, car died, etc.. But there was no reason. Absolutely none. For no reason at all, the traffic would get back logged and we would crawl or be sitting still. Then all of a sudden, traffic would start moving again. For. no. reason. It was the strangest thing ever.
We decided to hit up an Outlet Mall on day 5. Neither of us had ever been to one. If you're not a Canadian, outlet malls are huge to us. A lot of my friends have gone and I always hear the great finds and deals they got. So away we went. It was an outdoor mall and we loved it. First stop was the Coach store. Walked through the doors and security handed me an additional 30% off coupon, wooohooo! Ended up buying a great winter purse for an amazing deal. I was a happy girl! I absolutely love Coach purses! We browsed through some other stores and then we went to a Sunglasses store and Kev bought himself a pair of sunglasses for another great deal. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed back to the condo.
Day 6...Trip to the Beach
We drove to just outside of Tampa to get to Honeymoon Beach. It was a place that was recommended by a message board I used to frequent quite a bit. It was beautiful. The sand was white, the water blue/green and lots of seashells. Hardly any people too. We strolled the Beach collecting seashells and Brady would wade through the water. I didn't let him go past his knees as I was afraid of sharks. Yep, I transferred my phobia unto him by not letting him. He wasn't scared at all, but mama was and that's all that mattered. Had good reason too, because there was a bit of a rock wall about 20 feet from shore where a man was fishing and we saw him pull in a baby hammerhead shark. See, I have reasons for my fears. We tried to take the ferry to a smaller island that was also recommended but it was closed by then. Had a late lunch on the boardwalk and was very disappointed with the seafish. Tasted like frozen breaded shrimp. I was so excited to be going to Florida because of my love for seafood and everywhere I had it, it was horrible. Seriously, Red Lobster does better. Guess I just wasn't hitting the right places. Anyways, was a great day at the Beach. Photos below...
Day 7... Time to head home
We got up early and loaded up the van. It was so sad to leave. We loved our time in Florida and swore we will be back in 3 years.
Kev planned the ride home and it took longer to get back. Plus he had us driving up to just outside Chicago and then heading west towards North Dakota. Bad move since everywhere was getting the worst snow storms of the decade. Grrr... was slow driving at times, especailly through Wisconsin, where the storm was the worst. Had to pull over for awhile. We got home safe and it was about 1:30 pm when we arrived. Again, super long road trip... we all had a nap and then had a late supper.
I am so glad we took this trip. Florida is so beautiful. We do plan to go back in three years to see the Everglades, Discovery Cove and NASA.