Saturday, September 13, 2008

Travel Log

It had been five years since we had last visited the Sunshine state. We didn't intend to wait five years to go back, but Liam's arrival forced a postponement. Barring any other "arrivals", we hope to return again in another two or three years.

We rented a 3br/3bath house in Kissimmee in the Windsor Palms development. We arrived at 6:00pm on a sweltering hot Florida evening to find waiting for us a huge "welcome" basket filled with assorted goodies, but in a house with no air conditioning. Rats! Thankfully, enclosed within the basket was a card with the property-owner's phone number.

"All I can do is offer you another property", he said. "It has six bedrooms and a pool. Make yourself at home until I can get the A/C repaired." The new house was located in the same complex, just a couple of streets away.

It felt like a palace to us. The girls took many, many photos of the house but I will spare you the pictures of the toaster, the tree frog visitor on the (outside of the) window, and the wall hangings. Here is a shot Patrick took from the main level looking toward the upstairs hallway where the kids' bedrooms were located.

After a good night's sleep, Sea World was the first park we visited.

We pet some rays.

We rode "Journey to Atlantis" (front row--woo!), and caught the Clyde and Seymor show (which btw, was the same script as it was five years ago). We saw the dolphins, but didn't feed them. This attraction was much less appealing now than it had been before. Non-feeders had virtually no chance of touching a dolphin, since the visitors with dolphin-food were led to a gated area from which they were to dispense their food. Dolphins aren't stupid--they stayed where the food was, which was where we weren't. We might have purchased a tray of dead fish but then, there was a very long line for that. to Shamu's Happy Harbor where the middle two climbed and splashed to their hearts' content. While Liam snoozed, the remaining three of us enjoyed frozen soft drinks.

Aquatica is a Sea World-owned water park. Our Flex pass allowed us admission to it, and so the next day, that's where we went. This park opened in March, 2008 and we had a lot of fun there. I have no photos of it (did I mention it's a water park?) but this park is a blast. Attendance was pretty low (due to hurricane Gustav's rain) so as fast as a person could hustle themselves up the stairs, they were ready to slide back down and repeat the cycle.

New day, next park. Busch Gardens is a long-time favorite of ours. A lifetime ago when we lived in Orlando, we were season pass holders nearly every year. Busch Gardens has a great combination of live shows, great food, animals, coasters and other rides. If we could only visit one park, this would be it.

This is Holly's favorite ride: Congo River Rapids. They're heading toward a big splash.

Another favorite is the Tidal Wave. This ride has the added bonus that you don't even have to be a rider in order to get wet. As Patrick (in yellow) demonstrates above, you can get very, very wet just by standing on the bridge when the coaster docks.

Sean's mission throughout our Florida stay was to capture a gecko and bring it home.

He got close to one, but never did realize his goal. They were just too quick for him!
Next Post: Islands of Adventure!

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