We had a great time in The Sunshine State! Originally we planned on staying in Florida for 3 weeks, but then we got here, and realized just how far The Everglades actually were! Eek. And with a schedule to keep in order to meet some friends further up the road, we bypassed The Everglades for this trip, but will return!
So instead, we spent 2 weeks in Florida! After waiting out the storms in Dauphin Island, AL, we had to leave after Joe got off work one day, which gave us very little drive time with daylight (our favorite way to drive). So we literally just picked a place in Florida that was close enough for us to get to before dark. That was Waterfall State Park for the one night. Pretty place, but we were not on our game! We did end up getting there at dark, and the gate was locked since I didn’t call ahead first. Which meant I had to walk a mile to the camp host site and ask them for the code. Resourceful, but technically against the rules. They did give us the code and we found a spot to park in, but it was a pill to get into, thanks to this tree!
The next day, we took some time to explore Waterfall State Park.
Then we were headed to the next nearest place, we could get to before dark. That place was Lake Waldena in the Ocala National Forest. It was totally random. And like almost all random places….It Was Awesome! Minus the ticks. Those sucked.
It was a great spot, for the right price, and on a lake. But what made it awesome, was that we made friends! Good Friends. The kind of fast friends that on day 3 you’re both like, “Hey, watch my kid for a sec!” And all your kids outdoor play stuff gets jumbled together and you have to sort it out before leaving on the last day. The kind of friends you have camp fires and dinners with. And who let your kids reel in a fish, so they have that memory too. And maybe you have a night where you both drink a little too much wine and do headstands too.
We miss you Kelley and Bo and Harlo!
We did a few things while there too!
We left missing our new friends, but headed to Disney World! So the kids kept up their spirits.
Joe and I were apprehensive about going to Disney (not really our kind of thing), but our 7 year old had seen the commercials while watching TV at Nana’s, so it had to be done if we were going to Florida. So I made the reservations, the expensive, overwhelming reservations. And I started researching fast passes and rides, and the different parks, and Disney tips, and places to stay, and, and, and…
We arrived on a Monday evening at the Disney campground, Fort Wilderness, feeling totally overwhelmed and unprepared. But it’s all about suiting up and showing up, right!?
The campsite they gave us was a real B@@@T to park in, but that seems to be the theme of this trip. We did get parked and set up, with just a mild break down on my part. I mean, I was due!
The next morning was Magic Kingdom! We got up early and packed the jogging stroller with enough provisions to survive an apocalypse. We walked to the bus stop in our campground, and took the bus to the ferry, that took us to the front gates on Magic Kingdom. Note to self: Just GETTING to Disney takes about an hour.
Enchanted with Belle
It’s a Small World
Meet Cinderella and Rapunzel
Meet Goofy and Donald
Mad Hatter Tea Party
Under The Sea
Lelo and Stitch
”The second day, just I took the girls to Animal Kingdom, since we thought the baby would not enjoy 3 straight days of Disney, and I’m also cheap like that. It ended up being a great thing! This day, Joe just dropped us off at the front gates. That was awesome!
We were more seasoned by this point and knew enough to schedule all of our fast passes mid-day and close to one another. I had also reserved a character dining breakfast that day at Tusker House as our first stop.
Immediately, it was much easier going with just the girls and no Jonah! We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and meeting Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey. However, the characters just buzzed over to us and just posed for a pic with the kids. Loralai was really hoping that she would get to eat next to them and spend more time talking to them. I think she missed the fact that they in fact did not talk at all.
Lion King Show
A Bugs Life 3D movie
The Tree Walk
Birds of Prey Show
Walked through and saw the animals (whatever that’s called)
Danced in Africa
My goal this day was to get in and out before my already tired kids fell apart. Joe picked us up by 4:30pm. It was a fun 6.5 hour day!
Day 3: Joe took the girls to Epcot. He wanted to take them to Blizzard Beach once we had some experience, but alas, “downgrading” tickets is NOT allowed! Disney! So he booked all their fast passed at midnight the night before and had a great day! So if you are totally winging Disney like we were, and are afraid that you have to do everything 6 months in advance, rest at ease. You in fact can switch your plans the night before and still have a fine day.
Here’s what Joe did while at Epcot with the girls, while I enjoyed Jonah taking a 2.5 hour nap in the RV.
The seas with Nemo and Friends – great aquarium at the end.
Test Track – designed a great looking car and rode like champs.
Circle of Life – Good show about how our actions affect the environment….also the building was unfortunately filled with food.
Saw several great side shows…and found the Margarita tent!
The last day in Orlando, we rented a golf cart and cruised around Fort Wilderness. We went swimming and went to a campfire circle and movie, where Chip and Dale made an appearance. Bean took a pony ride. And just drove a speedy 14 miles and hour in our golf cart around the grounds. And that was the BEST day we had while doing Disney!
So our final critique of the infamous Disney World?! Meh. It’s a theme park. It’s not anymore amazing than going to Astroworld was as a kid growing up in Houston. I had visions of the staff treating us like royalty. But they didn’t. I thought there was be cool characters hanging out on the streets and interacting with visitors, but there wasn’t. I thought the rides would be world class! But most were just so-so.
But we did it. And I’m glad we did, cause now we know and we will have this to throw in our kids faces, when they say they don’t get to do ANYTHING!