Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Orlando vacation

It's funny to think that we've been in Florida over almost a year now and have just now ventured east to Orlando for a mini-vacation over the Memorial Day weekend. Alas, it was when we've just about run out of weekends here that we think of this...but oh well. :) Anyhow, we're back to report that it was a really fun, relaxing vacation!

We took off Friday afternoon, right after the kids woke up from their naps. The traffic was not horrible and we make it to our Residence Inn (the one closest to Sea World) at around 7pm. Thank goodness we had lots of snacks to tide ourselves over because we decided not to make a stop til we got to our hotel. We had gotten a reasonable rate on Travelocity and was just glad we got a room at Residence Inn. [I'm going to digress a bit and say we LOVE LOVE LOVE Residence Inns. We love that they offer 1 bedroom suites at a reasonable rate so that after the kids go down, we can still watch TV, play games, read, and enjoy ourselves. We love that they offer free HOT breakfast - read: eggs, freshly made pancakes & waffles, sausages, ham, and the regular cold stuff - cereal, fruit, yadda yadda. We basically made it our breakfast plus snack and didn't have to buy too much for lunch. Haha! We're so Chinese, I know. ;) They also have a kitchenette with all the utensils and cookware for those that want to cook themselves. And it's always super clean and neat. Yay!] Anyhow, after a quick dinner at McDs, we just played at the hotel (they had a playarea in the back) and checked out all the amenities they offered. It was nice to get settled in a bit earlier and get some downtime to read and relax before bed. The kids did take a while to get settled since they normally sleep in separate rooms but after chatting for a while (we were trying to figure out what they were talking about but to no avail), they finally dozed off. Phew!

Saturday, the kiddies woke up a bit early around 8am and we head off downstairs to our nice, big breakfast. Yummers! Then it was off to Sea World! We had gotten the FL resident special tickets online when we were home, so it was nice to skip the lines. While Kev headed for the Kraken, the kiddies and I went to Shamu's Playland. It was nice not to wait in any lines for the kiddie rides and to be able to take pics with the cool Orca statues without anyone rushing you. Haha! Anyhow, the double stroller came in super handy here - Aidan can hop on and off at will and it was streamlined enough to get through the crowds no problem. The canopy was also pretty good at covering both kids if Aidan leaned back a bit. And I guess it was pretty comfy since Jana fell asleep in it - LOL! We had slather ourselves and the kiddies with sunscreen, so no one got burnt - yay! The new snacks I bought helped to fill in the gaps, so we didn't have to spend a ton of money at each meal. But I would have to say that the food at Sea World (and Busch Gardens, for that matter) is way better than the food at other amusement parks, in my opinion. The meat was usually juicy, the fruit sweet, and the bread moist. :) The cool thing that happened to us that day was this: it started to pour right when we were about to look for some lunch. So every place that offered lunch with some sort of covering was totally packed. We ended up going to this grill place and was wondering how we were going to get seats since people were already standing around eating their food and others are patrolling the place like hawks to get seats. But Kev and I decided not to worry about it until we paid. And just right before we finished paying, some couple finished up and "psstt'ed" me, telling me that they were getting ready to leave and wondered if I was ready to jump into the seat to save it. God totally provided! Thank you, Lord! :) Anyhow, after lunch we headed home for a nap break but Jana was too excited to sleep and got a bit cranky. Oh well. We ended up meeting Kev's high school friend (that he found via facebook) for dinner at the City Walk at Universal and had Bubba Gump for the first time. It was nice - never knew they could do shrimp that many ways! Haha!

Sunday, we started a day a bit later and ended up at Sea World again. There is truly so much to see and do, that a 2nd day was definitely warranted. Thank God for SW's current special where anyone can come back for free a 2nd day. :) Aidan really wanted to feed the dolphins today but the line was super long. :( Maybe next time? We spent most of our time around the Shamu area where they had a good sized spray park - the kids can spend hours there! We also decided to go back after dinner since they have different shows at night and we are so glad that we did! We went to the Shamu Rocks show and it was so fun! It's definitely more rock-n-roll than 'Believe" and the kids loves clapping to the music and seeing the crowds. The kiddies learned to do the wave that night. :) There were other shows that we caught parts of, including their fireworks - it was really neat and the kids didn't want to leave! :) The only bad thing was while we were exiting the Shamu Show that night, Jana's shoe was squeezed off, leaving her with only one shoe for the remainder of the night - doh! Here's a pic from the Shamu Rocks Show:

Monday, we really took it easy and slowly packed and got ready for the day. Then it was breakfast time again - yay! :) After checking out, we headed off to the outlets to buy Jana new shoes because she actually only has one pair of shoes for warm weather, which means she really needed new shoes. The sales person looked at us a bit funny when we declined a bag or even a box for our shoe purchase - I had to explain that my daughter lost a shoe at SW last night. Then he just laughed and said that he actually hears that a lot. [Note to self: make sure the kiddies' shoes cannot be easily pulled off, esp when going to amusement parks.] Then we headed off to Downtown Disney. It's funny because we had been to all these places when we came to vacation in Orlando back in 2005 but it was still fun! We had also gone to Downtown Disney on a date (since my in-laws were with us last time and could babysit) so this time was very different with kids. We were in awe of the lego sculptures back in '05 but to see the kids ooh and aah at it was really neat! Plus, Kev and I only spent a few minutes making things out of legos at the lego station but spent almost 30 minutes there with the kiddies. ;) It was also a nice walk around the place since the weather was beautiful that day. Then after lunch, we finally headed home. What a great trip!
Aidan's Lego creation

And we leave you with Jana and her new shoes. :)