Saturday, May 30, 2009

My parents gave us tickets to Gatorland (which is an alligator filled park) as a going away present before we left on vacation. My parents took me to Gatorland when I was a little girl. We enjoyed it, but I don't know what was more exciting... seeing the alligators or watching the boys being scared of the alligators! Here's a picture of the boys with a white alligator, it was almost impossible to get the boys to stand in front of the glass. They were so frightened, it was hilarious!
This big guy got a room all to himself, we were told he didn't "get along" with the other alligators! The boardwalk was fun to walk around, all the alligators were out enjoying the rain. It reminded us of the way people line up on the beach to sun bathe.

Disney Hollywood Studios

I think Disney Studios is the smallest park of the Disney parks. Universal Studios was our favorite park out of the bunch we visited, and Disney Studios is probably our least favorite. The park was just so small and there were SO many people! There are only a couple rides and the lines are so long for those few rides, it was a disappointment. Now that being said, Disney Studios had some amazing rides! The Tower of Terror was one of our favorites! We rode it twice, two times in a row when the park first opened! You ride an elevator to the top of the tower and it drops, so much fun! The other amazing ride was Toy Story Midway Mania! We wore 3-D glasses while riding in a spinning car that traveled through virtual environments based on classic carnival midway games. It was a lot of fun! We waited in line over an hour for this ride, but the line was at least interesting; full of over sized toys from Andy's room! We didn't get to ride the Rock and RollerCoaster. The line was over 2 hours long and the fastpass was for 6pm. I wish we could have though, it looked cool! There was an over sized version of Abbott's guitar out front!

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is magical, there is no other way to describe it! There aren't amazing rollercoaster rides like there are at the other parks (to Andrew's disappointment) there are classic rides, more like storytelling rides. We rode the Ferry to Magic Kingdom Most of the park has rides about classic characters (Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Snow White, Swiss Family Robinson), and my boys don't really know any of those characters. So their favorite area in the park was Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland has a Stitch, Monster's Inc, and best of all a Buzz Lightyear ride (we love Toy Story)! Here are the boys on the Buzz Lightyear ride While Andrew pouted that this park was for little kids, Abbott enjoyed riding the rides. Here he is on the oldest ride in the park Cinderella's Golden Carousel Here is Abbott on Aladdin's Magic Carpet We walked through Mickey Mouse's House, here we are in Mickey's Garage We also walked through Minnie Mouse's House. Here I am in Minnie's kitchen! Ok, I have to post another picture of myself in Minnie's Kitchen, this is me beaming with happiness, lol! I would live here if they let me! Minnie had a recipe for Chewy Cheesy Chip Cookies on her fridge. I want to make them but they sound kind of yucky! Flour, sugar, and cheese?! What do you think? We explored the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House! The view from the top was amazing, but I swear some of the tree's were plastic! Here we are in line for It's A Small World, the song was in our heads the rest of the day! I don't want you to feel left out, here's a little video of our time in the line ;-) Sing Along!

Disney Quest

Disney Quest is an indoor interactive adventure and was very cool! We almost skipped it and I am so glad we didn't! We were going to go there for a couple of hours and ended up staying for almost 8 hours! They charge you $35-$40 a person to get in, but once you are in everything is free. I would say it's like a kids version of Dave and Busters except for a few very amazing games/rides. Remember to click the picture for a full screen view (some of these are dark).
My favorite was the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold. We controlled a virtual pirate ship and destroyed other ships, sea monsters, and fortresses to collect gold. Andrew was our captain, steering and controlling the throttle while we controlled the cannons. Disney Quest is 5 floors and each floor has 2-3 of the speciality amazing rides and then wall to wall arcade type games. One floor had nothing but sport games, another floor had every racing game you can imagine. Guess what floor we spent the most time on.... Justin loves racing cars. We even raced as a family, and I won! Ha!

The boys favorite ride was CyberSpace Mountain. They would design a roller coaster on a computer, then sit in a simulator and "ride" it. The boys spent a good 2 hours building and riding rollercoasters. I think they built and rode 8 total. Justin and I would watch (we had no desire to ride their roller coaster of endless loopy loops and hill drops). You can see the boys in the simulator in the bottom right and their virtual rollercoaster on the top. Of course Abbott loved the Guitar Hero game (he is an expert on our Guitar Hero game at home). He would battle anyone who would take him on... and he won every time! Here is Justin battling Abbott


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We really enjoyed Epcot! Like Universal Studios, Epcot had some amazing rides! "Test Track" and "Mission: Space" were amazing! In Test Track you help test a car for GM (so lots of fast driving). In Mission: Space you are in a spinning motion simulator and take a trip to Mars. Abbott was very funny on this ride, he was concerned it was real and was scared that he wasn't pushing all the buttons he was suppose to. He kept yelling "someone help me push the right button" and "is this real?!" We rode Mission: Space twice and the boys called this their favorite ride... but Justin and I really liked the Test track!
The Universe of Energy almost put me to sleep but Andrew (my scientist) liked it! We walked around the World Showcase that evening (I couldn't imagine making the journey in the hot daylight sun)! Here's France United Kingdom Japan

Universal Studios

I remember Universal Studios being my favorite when I visited Orlando as a child and it didn't disappoint. The rides are amazing, not even in the same league as Six Flags. We liked The Simpsons ride the most, the technology used was phenomenal! The Simpsons ride was our favorite, it was also the ride we went on twice ;-)
Jaws was everyone's 2nd favorite! Ahhhh! By the time we got to the ET ride the boys were tired. ...but then we went and stood in line for Shrek (for an hour in the hot sun), we were really tired after that!

Nickelodeon Hotel

We knew we would only go to Orlando once while the boys were little so we really wanted to go all out. We are staying in the Nickelodeon Hotel, and it is more than we could have imagined! Each hotel "room" is actually a 2-bedroom suite decorated with Nickelodeon characters. I think the boys would watch SpongeBob all day if we let them The pool is amazing and the boys love getting slimed! Here's a video (you can't see the boys because they are in the middle of the crowd, but you get the idea)!

Pier 60 Clearwarter Beach Florida

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I will be posting vacation pictures for my friends and family for the next couple days. If you are looking for my recipe blog please check back the first week of June (summer is here and I have over 50 recipes I want to try, yeah baby)!

Today we went to Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. This AMAZING beach is only an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Orlando. The sand was white and fine, the whole beach was clean, and the gulf water was blue and warm. It was so much fun! Definitely one of the best days of my life! Click the pictures for a full screen version...

We got a nice grandma to take a family picture
Abbott collecting shells
Andrew burying his feet
Justin digging in the sand
Justin and the boys made an elaborate sand castle masterpiece! Here is the castle
... here they are making the river
... the boys digging the moat (really more of a lagoon, but let's call it a moat
... the boys filling the moat
Swimming in the ocean was so much fun!
Can you spot Abbott?
We even saw a couple of dolphins swimming with us! I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of them jumping but here you can see the top of the dolphin fin (it's way back there, to the right of the rocks)!
Justin loves Carrie... and yes, Carrie loooooooves Justin!