Who goes to Florida in August for four days! This girl, that’s who!
So as with all of my friend Kim’s crazy ideas, I jump in feet first because they are always fun and I never regret it (i.e Chicago wedding dress shopping, buying a cottage etc). When she asked if I wanted to go away with her and her four-year-old son Chase, I knew it would be just as much fun so I sent her my money and last Thursday we took off on a South West plane to Orlando via Baltimore. Surprisingly, even though I have never had a stopover before and we were with a child, it all went very smoothly and the flights were both good!
Our rental car experience, we thought had gone smoothly (more details on that later) and we drove to our hotel in Kissimmee Florida. Our hotel was nice, nothing fancy and we marveled at how large and extravagant the gift shops around our hotel were. Trip advisor gave us the name of a Texas Roadhouse restaurant that gave rave reviews so we headed there for dinner and I can see why they had great feedback! I got the Pulled Pork Dinner and it came with TWO sides (I had corn and applesauce) and a bun – for $9.99! The food was hot and flavorful and I left very satisfied (and feeling very full). Kim asked for the ribs which were meaty and also looked delicious! After that we carried our full stomachs back to the hotel and around 7:30 we got antsy…what to do…
lets do Cirque?
Let’s do Medieval Times?
That was the plan…but halfway there, Kim got another big idea.
LETS DO DISNEY!
Now, people please understand, Disney was not on our to-do list in Orlando…but when in Rome…
So we turned the car around and drove to Disney having no idea what we’d do once there or even how late it stayed open. We knew the parade and fireworks would be happening so we took a chance.
When we arrived we talked to the lady at the parking entrance and she ended up letting us park for free (who says you can’t get something for free nowadays?). We took a shuttle to the train and the train to the park…seriously whoever built Disney did not take into consideration the ease of getting into this park. It was an adventure (and about 30 minutes) before we arrived AT Disney.
That’s when we were told the harsh reality – if you are there at the start of the day, or with only an hour left you pay the same price – $105!!!! WHAT THE F@!# I nearly fell over…the park was closing in two and a half hours and all we wanted to see was Cinderella’s castle and the fireworks show – Walt you should be ashamed of yourself…making millions off idiot tourists like us…shame shame Walt, shame shame!
Turns out, the Castle wasn’t that exciting, it didn’t meet my childhood visions or my girly imagination. Also, Chase hated the loudness of the parade so we kind of just walked aimlessly around Disney until the Fireworks started…then we stood in line for 6 hours (really 30 minutes) to meet Mickey Mouse and took the forever route back to our car.
Disney was by all means, a disappointment and a place that my future kids most likely will never experience because I am not going to spend that much money for them to be mesmerized by things that aren’t that mesmerizing.
The next day we went to Sea World and Aquatica and those impressed me. I liked the shows, the rides were cool, the kid’s park was fun and Aquatica on its own was a blast for those big and small. I also went on my first waterside ever and it was a BLAST. A short ride, but super fun…if not for the long lines I would have gone again and again! This was an amusement park that I would go to again!
Saturday we headed out for the drive to Winterhaven and went to every child’s dreamland – LEGO LAND FLORIDA. With all the walking we had been doing, I was over exhausted and my feet and ankles wanted to cry. Another thing – these parks have almost NO smoking areas and I was losing it! It was hot and I needed a break so I sent Kim and her son off to play and ride and I sat in the nice air-conditioned restaurant and relaxed (and then found said smoking section). The park itself was cute and I can completely see why kids are enamored with it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea, so I’m happy that I struck out on my own to relax a little bit.
Sunday we did exactly what I consider a vacation – we drove to Clearwater Beach Florida and spent a few hours on the beach and in the ocean! Clearwater is BEAUTIFUL and I will 100% be back there to enjoy more of its white sand beaches and warm, soothing ocean. Unfortunately we had to get to the airport so we made the two-hour drive, only to realize as we dropped off our rental that they had only listed us as needing the car for two days and not for four days so we were overcharged for the two days late return. There was no point in arguing or complaining, at this point we agreed to eat the charge and be more careful next time. It was time to go home and both of us wanted to be in the air, taking off.
The vacation was amazing as always with one of my bff’s and her adorable kiddo and I am so glad I had this experience – but the next vacation *which should be February* – will be on a beach with all you can drink daiquiri’s and food included…I cannot wait!