Thursday, March 25, 2010

My totally overdue report of Spring Break 2010

Alright, we've been home for about 2 weeks and I am finally getting around to writing about our trip to Orlando over spring break. Paul and I went, ALONE, and spent 6 days wandering all around Orlando and the surrounding areas and enjoying every minute of it. The flight from Phoenix to Florida is about 6 hours, but thanks to my friend Liz Jones, who loaned me both of the "Hunger Games" books, the flight passed very quickly for me. But Poor Paul was bored out of his mind because I had my nose in the books and I wouldn't let him buy the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue to keep occupied. Ha.ha..

When we landed we picked up our rental car and wandered down a street called "International Drive" that has a lot of restaurants and shops on it. We ended up stopping at, of all places - Pizza Hut - and the next few pictures show what was actually across the street from us. The upside building is a Children's Museum. Isn't it so awesome to look at? I had to take several pictures so you could get the idea of how amazing this structure looks. It kind of reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, when the house fell on the wicked witch.

Standing in front of the Orlando Children's Museum

One downfall of traveling to the East is that Florida is 3 hours ahead of Arizona time. So we actually ate dinner at 6pm Eastern time, but it was really like a super late lunch for us. We ended up renting a suite that had a couple bedrooms, kitchen, livingroom/dining room and a washer and dryer! It was great to be able to do laundry. Plus the weather was really cold and windy so we were glad to wash and rewear our jeans and sweaters. We were able to go to the local grocery store, named PUBLIX, it's like Fry's and stock up on a few groceries so we wouldn't have to eat out at every meal.

Once we were settled into our suite it was like 8pm Eastern Time and we knew we would be getting up extremely early the next morning for Disney World. We decided to tired ourselves out by working out in the fitness room! We weren't the only ones with this crazy idea. It didn't really help and by 11:30 we were forcing ourselves into bed and trying to go to sleep.

The next morning we were up at about 6am (3am Arizona time!) and got ready for DisneyWorld. I was so excited - I felt like a kid again.

Here are a few pictures of us waiting in line to get through the first gate at DisneyWorld and park the car.

Note: I have NO makeup on so you can really see all the lovely hyperpigmented skin I have on my forehead.

The Entrance!!

One really annoying thing about DisneyWorld is that it is on an Island and not easily accessible. You don't just park and walk right in. We had to park, get on a trolley that dropped us off at a gate in which these people went through all our bags to check for weapons and bombs. Then we headed to a ferry boat and rode for about 2 miles and landed at another gate where we finally got in line to show our internet receipt so we could get our tickets and actually enter the park. Whew! It took about an hour to do all that business.
We immediately made a plan of how we wanted to tour the park. One nice thing that Disney has now is the "fast pass". You pick up a ticket for a ride you want to go on later and then when you go back you can essentially go to the front of the line instead of waiting it out. We did this with several popular rides. Oh, and did I mention that it must have been spring break for the entire nation, because the park was PACKED. I am so glad we didn't have the kids.

Paul and I on a safari boat ride.

This is the only picture of us together. Whoops! But when there are only two of you it's awkward to ask complete strangers to snap pictures. Basically Paul volunteered me to stand in most of the pictures. I did snap a few of him though.

Here's Paul waiting in line for the Lighting McQueen Car Ride. (Yes we even went on the kiddie rides:))

This is the most ridiculous picture of me. It proves I can't multi-task. The attendant was trying to talk to me as Paul was telling me to look at him and smile at the same time.

I told Paul I guessed we walked about 10-15 miles around DisneyWorld. We spent 10 hours total at the park and it was worth every minute.

Once we got back to our suite the first thing we did was jump into the super big bathtub and turn on the spa jets. Our legs were so incredibly sore that nothing really helped relieve the pain. But the hot water felt good. Slowly we started adjusting to Eastern time, but it was still a challenge to get in bed by 11pm.

The next day we went to Epcot. Paul totally groaned about having to go because it didn't seem to him that it would be as much "fun" as DisneyWorld. Infact as we were walking in to the park a girl asked her mom what Epcot was all about and the mom replied, "it's a celebration of different cultures." Paul shot me a look and I just laughed. I assured him that there were likely many rides and other fun things to do besides basking in the cultural surroundings. (Which I was very thrilled about!)

Paul in front of Epcot

I don't remember where I was at in the park - I think this was near the entrance.

I can't even remember the order of the countries. We saw so many of them: England, Canada, Rome, China, Japan, France, etc. It was so awesome. Each country was built up to look exactly like it does in real life. For example, there was a very convincing model Eiffel tower in France. In each country there were restaurants and shops all dedicated to the traditions and customs. In France we tried a new dessert called "Napoleon" (we tried not to recite lines to each other from the movie--"eat-your-food-Erika") and it was fabulous. It was this huge cream concoction with thin crackery layers. Anyway we had to share it because it was huge and likely 2000 calories.

Heading into China. And another awesome thing was most of the employees in these "countries" were actual natives from the real place. It gave a more authentic feel to the park.

This picture didn't exactly turn out the way I wanted it to. But it's several bushes cut out to look like a dragon. The detail used was really incredible .

More carvings from various plants.

This is the "America" part of the park.

All in all we spent about 9 hours at Epcot and once again my legs were dying. When we hit India I sank onto this big pillow for a break.

Thanks to blogger this picture of me, just inside the gates of Disneyland, got thrown in with my Epcot pictures. Oh well.

I love the old English style Telephone booths. They actually remind me of the Harry Potter books. This was our last stop at Epcot. We headed back to the front gates and stopped to buy some stuff for the kids. Then we headed back to our suite where we sat in the spa tub again!

Thursday Paul had to go to his conference. (This is the reason we were in Orlando in the first place). He left about 7 am so I just layed around until about 8:30 and then decided to go to the Fitness room and try and work off the calories from that Napoleon dessert. I was showered and ready to go when Paul came back around lunch time. We decided to spend the rest of the day shopping at various outlet malls. I picked up a new outfit and a badly needed bathing suit. I then dragged Paul to the movies to watch "Sherlock Holmes." It was a good movie! We then went to eat at Sizzler....need I say more...there is definitely a reason why they are no longer in business in Arizona. The food was awful! Paul made me promise we will never eat there again. It's just not the same Sizzler that I waitressed at long, long ago when I was in college.
On Friday I wanted to go to the beach and Cape Canaveral. So off we went.

We stopped at the Kennedy Space Center and we were going tour it, except the tickets were expensive and after spending a few hundred for DisneyWorld and Epcot we decided to skip. Plus you could see most of the complex from the road.

We drove down the Eastern Coast, found a place to park and jumped out. I did not bring my bathing suit nor did I attempt to swim because the water was FREEZING. However, there were men out surfing and kids playing on the shore but I wasn't about to get completely wet.

All I wanted to do was stick my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. I've been to the Pacific Ocean a million times, but never the Atlantic. So I took this commemorative photo of my feet. While we walked along the shore we were able to pick up a large handful of seashells and bring them back for the kids.

Paul looking very GQ

Yay- I am finally at the Atlantic Ocean!

This is the Orlando Temple. I did not realize they had a temple. (My mom told me about it when I called to check on the kids). If I had known this, I would've packed our Sunday Clothes. I was really ticked I didn't check earlier. So we just walked around the temple grounds and snapped a few pictures. The temple is in a very ritzy part of Orlando. Infact in it is the same general area of Tiger Woods home.

After going to the temple we were completely starving so we stopped at a very upscale McDonalds. It was like a fancy restaurant. There was the regular menu items but also a whole section of marketplace/healthy foods. They also had a second story in which you go up and play pool or other games. We sat by a large window in these fancy chairs and just soaked up the ambience. Clearly I have never been to such a fancy fast food joint. (Many of you know I am not a big McDonalds person. I actually wanted to go to IHOP for lunch and have pancakes! But Paul was not overly thrilled with that idea. I can eat breakfast foods for every meal, while he would rather just eat breakfast foods at breakfast.) We spent the rest of the evening shopping and repacking all our stuff. The week totally flew by. But I was excited to get home and see the kids. Our flight home seemed to take forever!!! I had plowed through both of my books so I was basically just flipping through magazines to pass the time. When we landed back in Phoenix it was like 75 degrees outside and just gorgeous. My parents graciously drove the kids up from Sierra Vista and met us at our house. It was so nice to not have to jump in the car and drive 3 hours to pick them up and then 3 hours back. The kids had so much fun with all their relatives. A BIG THANK YOU to my parents, Paul's mom and 2 sisters who watched them all week. We really appreciated it.
We aren't sure what our next adventure will be. We'll have to look and see where the next conferences will be held.
It took us both about a week to get settled into our routine again. I swear I am still munching on junk like I was still on vacation.
This past Saturday Paul's work rented a luxury box at the Coyotes Hockey Game. It was awesome! We were on a private floor with dinner, drinks, appetizers, and dessert all catered. We had prime seats above the rink and we could see everything perfectly. The only down side - it was FREEZING. Neither Paul nor I gave any thought as to what we should wear. So we we showed up in shorts and t-shirts and about froze. I was going to buy a coyotes sweatshirt until I discovered they were like $50. I decided to freeze it out. Despite being cold we had an awesome time. The Coyotes won 6 - 2 and having never enjoyed watching hockey on TV, I am convinced you have to watch it in person to really enjoy it.