Part 2 Of ‘The Florida Adventure’!

And now for the thrilling conclusion to “The Waistband of My Skirt Is Cutting Painfully Into My Extended Gut” a.k.a. #nationalmantoanwintervacation. (For the record, I didn’t mean to take another week to complete last week’s Takes but…. here we are anyway. But don’t worry, I made the remaining takes EXTRA wordy! And dropped in a couple of extra photos for good measure.)

5. Friday we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were there for ALL. THE. STAR. WARS. (and maybe the Muppets too). We arrived in time to watch the First Order led by Captain Phasma, march in, before heading to the Launch Bay area where all the character meet and greets are done. Up to this point, no one wanted to meet characters. Not Mickey, not Scooby Do, no one. Even breakfast visits from the mayor of Give Kids the World Village (a huge rabbit)  elicited forced smiles and one word answers from the boys. But BB8, Kylo Ren and Chewbacca beckoned. And as we figured out our plan of attack, two storm troopers with blasters approached our family and demanded we come with them. SQEEEEEEEE!!!!! How cool to be apprehended by the First Order like we were a rag-tag group of rebels plotting a takeover!?!?! We snapped a picture with them before they escorted us to the front of the line to meet Kylo Ren, (telling other park goings to “stand aside” and “make way”). Even the big kids couldn’t help but geek out. Fulton and Teddy both swore their allegiance to the First Order (and the Dark Side in general) which made things a bit awkward when BB8 asked us to join the rebellion. Chewbacca gave us furry handshakes and we snapped several other shots around the Launch Bay, which featured scene recreations (like the Cantina) and movie props (like helmets). If our day ended right there, we’d all have been happy. (I’d have been even happier if the Star Wars wine wasn’t FIFTY dollars a bottle. No, I didn’t buy any.)


Riding that high we went right over to the Indiana Jones Stunt show (which apparently remains unchanged since the late 80s, the last time I visited) and enjoyed explosions, martial art fights, and implied dismemberment. Finally we watched the Muppets 3D show and rode the new Toy Story Ride fueled by $50 in mouse shaped pretzels and frozen Coke with Jack Daniels (don’t worry, the drinks were just for Tony and I). Arriving back at the resort we enjoyed pizza, catfish, and I met a blog reader who volunteers at the Village. I was so happy to meet her I immediately forgot her name, but it was great to meet her none the less!

6. Saturday we finally just stayed put…well, until we needed to go to Mass but mostly we stayed put. The Give Kids the World Village had so much to offer and we’d only touched the tip of the iceberg. Rather than feeling a sense of urgency all morning, we took our time getting ready and I tried to start the first of several loads of laundry and created a packing plan of attack. First was the completely wheelchair accessible minigolf course. I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ve played some pretty elaborate courses and I didn’t think an accessible course could be all that enjoyable, but thankfully I was wrong! Fulton and Teddy gleefully hit balls all over the course with assistance, driving this way and that, taking full advantage of the fact that we were the only family playing golf. (Thank goodness!) Next to the golf course was an arcade, model train layout, and a couple of carnival rides. We spent lots of time exploring and playing before enjoying a leisurely lunch and yes, even some TV time. In the afternoon we took to the large salt water pool and splash pad. Teddy was content to have Tony run him back and forth through the splash pad. Fulton and I started at the splash pad before getting into the pool. The novelty of spending a February afternoon under palm trees and a warm sun was not lost on this Yankee. I tried to soak up every minute.

Post splash pad maxin’ and relaxin’.

Still damp and smelling like seawater, we packed up and headed to a Vigil Mass at St. Jude’s Maronite Rite Catholic Church. It was a beautiful service combing English, Aramaic, and Syriac languages. Fulton was a little thrown off because the Maronite Rite does Communion on the tongue with intinction and receiving the Precious Blood at the same time as the Sacred Host caused him to look at me in distress and try to talk. “It’s just the wine. It’s fine. Keep it in your mouth!” I hissed. We wrapped up the day with a laid back supper and a final trip for ice cream.

7. How was it already Sunday?? I woke up extra early and finished packing. While Tony took the kids for breakfast I moved bags outside and, upon realizing I hadn’t taken any pictures of our villa, quickly went live on Facebook to share a tour.

With breakfast finished we started loading up the trailer, the goal to get to Sea World close to opening. Since our hotel reservation was in South Carolina, I figured we could spend a couple of hours checking out the wildlife and still make it to our hotel before it got too late. None of us were too gung-ho for Sea World except Fulton and I hoped the quick trip would satisfy his curiosity.

We selected a few animals to view but unfortunately the Sea World map was written in Greek and printed backwards…at least that’s how it felt as we tried to move through the large crowds and kept looking around to discover we were nowhere near where we though we should be. In our quest to see the sea lions and the penguins, we missed the dolphin show. So we tried to just view some dolphins and the manatees. We loved the manatees. If it would’ve been possible we would’ve taken one home in the trailer and set it up comfortably in our bathtub. Teddy exclaimed “I just want to jump in and squeeze him!” And that was it. If we ever find ourself in Florida again, perhaps we’ll dedicate a day to Sea World, and hire a private tour guide to help us manuever through the park.

Our drive back included hitting rush hour traffic around Washington D.C and Google sending us creative routes to save time. Needless to say, we wound up taking a scenic detour through downtown D.C whilest Tony and I yelled at each other about where the road we were driving on disappeared to. For the record, Tony and I never yell at each other or argue loudly EXCEPT when driving places. The kids know to remain quiet and calm in the backseat watching their movies and to refrain from reminding us not to use “that kind of language.” It doesn’t take long for Tony and I to start cracking jokes and laughing at how ridiculous we’re both acting (and at the colorful new expressions for bad drivers we will have inevitably created).

On Tuesday it was back to business as usual. Fulton woke up ready to go to school, show off his souvenirs, and share details of his trip. Teddy woke up crying because we weren’t still in Florida (or some swanky hotel room) and tried his hardest to have the worst day ever. Thankfully, some of the Florida heat came home with us, making the reentry a bit more bearable.

I’m still trying to assemble a photo album, and I only put away the last of the souvenirs yesterday, but now it seems that our trip was forever ago. Especially when I compare my current Lenten fast to our vacation habit of daily ice cream. But what wonderful memories! These posts (Part 1 is HERE in case you missed it.) share only the highlights. We remain eternally grateful to Baking Memories 4 Kids for sending us on this once in a lifetime trip, and to Give Kids the World Village for making this the easiest vacation EVAH.

Try to top that with your Takes!! Just kidding. Any seven will do. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takers. I look forward to reading your posts!






  1. I’m geeking out just reading about your Star Wars adventures! So happy that you guys had a great vacation. (Funny, I was at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Disneyland last week but I didn’t get any special treatment. I had to wait in line with the other rebels.) 😉

  2. I’m totally squealing inside with glee (so I don’t disrupt the household) as I read about your Star Wars experience. That’s SO COOL!

  3. Your rebel takeover sounds entirely successful. I’m all in favor of the ice cream diet on vacation. Glad you had such a good time.

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